Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has taken steps to boost coconut production by supplying 160,000 disease-resistant coconut seedlings to the Coconut Farmers Association of Ghana (CoFAG).
The goal of this major intervention is to increase the crop acreage to a total of 10,000 acres across the country by providing 500,000 seedlings to coconut famers within the next five years to increase production and export of the crop.
The move by the Authority falls in line with its strategic target of increasing production from its current 49,000 hectres to 300,000 hectres by 2022. Industry analysts assert that this would expand the acreage under coconut cultivation for farmers to take advantage of the increasing demand in the international market which is estimated to hit US$15 billion in total revenue by 2024.
According to GEPA, the effort is expected to compliment Government’s flagship projects in the agriculture sector, most notably, Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
Importantly, the impending commencement of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – which is now postponed indefinitely due the continuous impact of the Coronavirus infections – is expected to open up opportunities for Ghana to export more agricultural produce such as coconut to other African countries.
Speaking during the seedlings handing over ceremony in Accra last Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare asserted that it was imperative the various agricultural value chains be innovative and competitive to take advantage of market opportunities post COVID-19.
“Ghana Export Promotion Authority remains committed in its support of the coconut sector…, Ghana’s coconut industry does not only provide the quickest avenue and entry point into job creation, but also provides a boost to promoting alternative health solutions and household products”, she added.
Beneficiaries include coconut famers in Volta, Western North, Central, Oti, Eastern and Western Regions as compared to the previous distribution year in 2017 where 100,000 seedlings were distributed to famers in Western and Central Regions.
For effective distribution of the seedlings, CoFAG is in the process of establishing a Monitoring and Evaluating Unit at all regional and district levels to ensure fair and transparent distribution; proper planting and maintenance of seedlings and data compilation.
“This support will increase coconut production capacity in the country by 3,125 hectres. We duly appreciate the gesture and further appeal for the provision of organic fertilizer to increase our soil fertility to boost production to meet local demand and export”, President of CoFAG, Mr. Patrick Ndabiah said.