Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has initiated steps to boost vegetable production by presenting high grade seedlings valued at Ghc90,000 to the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG).
The objective of the intervention is to increase the supply base of vegetable production to achieve high yields to not only meet export demand, also but satisfy local supply.
This intervention is seen by representatives of VEPEAG as critical since the production shortfall had been identified as a major constraint hampering the gains in the sector, even before the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted global trade and business.
The high grade seedlings presented include hot pepper cayenne, hot pepper safi and okra which were packaged in cans and sachets.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare explained that the Authority’s intervention was strategic in the sense that the move will further promote the gains of Ghana’s Non-Traditional Export (NTEs).
“The only way we can grow our exports steadily is to sustain supply. There is no use developing and promoting Made in Ghana produce and making so much noise about what we have, when the volumes are not available”, she added.
In 2018, agricultural sector contributed 21.01 percent to Ghana’s total Non Traditional Exports, placing second to processed and semi-processed products.
Over the years, GEPA, has intervened in various sectors under the NTEs basket by presenting seedlings and technical support aimed at enabling farmers to increase their yields with the most recent intervention being in the coconut sector.
The cashew sector, pineapple, yam among others have also benefitted from similar interventions recently.
According to the Authority, the presentation has come at a time when stakeholders within the export sector are finding it difficult to adjust to the new normal following the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on global trade.
The President of VEPEAG, Mr. Felix Kammasa indicated that with the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) rescheduled for January 2021, the intervention would enable vegetable farmers produce the required volumes needed to meet export demand in existing and newly identified potential markets.
The association is expected to monitor the effective distribution of seeds to its members and also ensure the use of best farm practices.