The Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has called on government to review its 50 percent benchmark valuation policy on local products to meet the standard of producers.
With the 50 percent benchmark, importers had advantage over local producers and could stifle the local oil palm industry.
Mr. Samuel Avaala, the President of OPDAG made the call at an advocacy training workshop for executives of the Association in Cape Coast.
The training was organised by Solidaridad, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with focus on stimulating sustainable supply chains through innovations in production in West Africa with funding from the Swiss Government and the kingdom of Netherlands.
It was designed for key actors in the Oil Palm Industry to ensure a vibrant and sustainable oil palm sector and engage policy makers on the challenges of the sector to find potential solutions.
Mr. Avaala stressed that the Association was focused on promoting socially responsible, ecologically friendly and economically sustainable production and had engaged farmers, millers, and refiners.
“One of the biggest problems we have had over the years was the absence of the regulatory or institutional framework.
“You can take cocoa for example, because of Cocoa board, cocoa is a different story when your compare it to other tree crops like oil palm”,Mr Avaala lamented.
However, he said with the establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), the sector would be well regulated to achieve its full potentials.
“The establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authority is good news for OPDAG and it is the beginning of something good, 10 years from now, I believe this institutional framework will make a difference”, he added.
Mrs. Susan Yendi, Country Representative for Solidaridad explained that the capacity building programme was under the second phase of Solidaridad’s Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP II).
Under it, more than 10,000 palm farmers were trained in best management practices to improve the oil palm value chain to increase incomes of small holder farmers and generate economic growth and jobs in Ghana and beyond.
She said the programme had already engaged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), and the planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).
Mrs Yendi further stated that the engagement would shape the activities of the sector in complying with policies and offer opportunities to farmers to air their views on policies affecting them to create an enabling environment for their businesses to thrive.