The lockdown in Western Europe due to the continuous impact of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) infections is threatening international trading activities as Ghana is set to record lower revenues from its Non Traditional Exports (NTEs) to the European Union market this year.
One of such major export to the EU is pineapple, which is still trying to recover from a contraction in export sales to the EU in 2018, through concerted action by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority.
According to a Competitor Analysis report released by GEPA, Ghana exported close to US$33million worth of pineapples in 2018 – with France emerging as the largest destination for Ghana’s pineapple – as compared to US$30.3 million and US$36.9 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This represents a decline of three percent in earnings in 2018.
Altogether, close to 79 percent of the total exports of pineapples from Ghana went to the EU market in 2018 with France alone absorbing almost 26 percent of this.
France has the capacity to absorb more than triple the total pineapple export from Ghana as it imported US$123 million worth of pineapples from around the world in 2018. Ghana ranks as the fourth largest supplier to France compared with dominant suppliers like Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire and Ecuador.
With the impact of COVID-19 where Europe has now become the epicenter of the disease, businesses and international trade are being affected significantly, pushing Trade Promotion Authorities such as GEPA to consider some key measures on the way forward to sustain the market.
In a move to tackle the negative growth rate of Ghana’s pineapple export, last September, GEPA delivered 11.3 million pineapple suckers to various exporters and out growers at Ekumfi in the Central Region.
The pineapple suckers given to the farmers were in different varieties namely MD2; smooth cayenne and sugarloaf. In all, 3 million MD2; 5.3 million smooth cayenne; and 3 million sugarloaf suckers were given to the farmers who earlier applied for them.
More than 20.2 million pineapple suckers have been given to farmers to shore up both processing capacity and production capacity of pineapple.
Globally, Ghana ranked 19th in the export of pineapples in 2018. At the global level, Costa Rica remains the largest supplier of pineapples in the world, with an export value of slightly over US$ 1bn in 2018. Other leading global suppliers were the Netherlands (US$207m), Philippines (US$192m) and Belgium (US$108m).