The Ghana Export Promotion Authority is working towards achieving a set target of US$5.3 billion in Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) to foreign markets by 2023.
Meanwhile, GEPA, which has reneged on its 2017 objective, to increase proceeds from NTEs to US$10 billion by the year 2021, had said, the previous target is hectic and ‘unrealistic’.
GEPA’s CEO, Madam Afua Asabea Asare speaking to the Goldstreet Business, said, “In our meeting, it came out that the US$5.3 billion by 2023 is realistic though that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to achieve. We still have to put in more work and effort”.
Instructively, GEPA seeks to rely on specific initiatives to achieve the objective, with a 10-year cashew development plan being one of the strategies that the authority is relying on.
The authority in that regard has begun educating farmers on how to expand their farms in order to increase yield and export. Ghana currently exports 70,000 tonnes of cashew each year, sharply contrasting that of Ivory Coast which stands at 800,000 tonnes annually.
“The agro sector is huge and we have invited some buyers into the country to share their thoughts on what their expectations are. Pepper, baby corns, baby cucumber, and sweet potatoes are in high demand in external markets and we are ready to continue to offer assistance to farmers who have lands to venture into large scale farming” she said.
Other initiative by the authority include the export school where GEPA educates exporters on what to do to break even in the export market.
Last year, GEPA prepared and delivered 15 million suckers of pineapple and has committed funding to the tune of GHc4.2 million to the procurement of the suckers to pineapple factories in the Eastern Region. That investment was expected to yield an estimated US$13.1million in a few years.
GEPA has also undertaken extensive consultation with all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies throughout the country to identify one crop from each district, which would be developed for export.
Further works included the provision of storage facilities to prevent post-harvest losses, were ongoing. GEPA launched the Coconut Export Revitalization Project in March 2018, distributing 60,000 hybrid coconut seedlings to farmers within the central Region.
In furtherance of this initiative, 40,000 seedlings are also being provided to coconut farmers in the Central Region under the aegis of the Coconut Farmers’ Association (COFAG).
This intervention was necessary as the projected world demand for coconut and its by-products by 2021 is estimated to be US$2.8 billion.
The authority has begun works to resuscitate the Abompe Beads Industry of Akyem-Abompe, in the Fanteakwa North District of the Eastern Region, by supporting to procure land for erection of a shed for beads producers.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe