GEPA steps in to fast-track economic recovery

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The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has taken steps to help farmers boost coconut production for exports in the next five years, as the economy seeks to recover from ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

With regard to this, the authority has handed 160,000 coconut seedlings to the Coconut Famers Association of Ghana (COFAG) – a move the association says can help the economy rake in revenue of about US$2billion by 2023. Again, through this intervention GEPA wants to increase acreage of the crop by 10,000-plus acres nationwide.

Speaking at a brief occasion in Accra to hand the seedlings over to the association, CEO of the GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, said her outfit is committed to doing whatever it possibly can to contribute in revival of the economy following the damage caused by COVID-19.

“We expect that opportunities will open up for Ghana to export more horticultural products to other African countries. Thus, our various agricultural value chains need to be innovative and competitive to take advantage of market opportunities that will be available post COVID-19.

“From our end, Ghana Export Promotion Auhtority remains committed in its support to the coconut sector as we continue to strategically intervene by providing 160,000 quality disease-resistant seedlings to farmer groups,” she said.

Also speaking at the event, President of the Coconut Farmers Association of Ghana, Patrick Ndabiah, thanked GEPA for its donation of the seedlings; saying it will play a major role in accelerating the vision of making the country one of the major gainers in the global coconut industry.

He further stated that the donation has come at an opportune time, as the local coconut industry is going through some struggles along its value chain due to the pandemic’s impact on the general economy. This donation, he said, will increase the country’s coconut production capacity by 3,125 hectares. The coconut industry’s global value is pegged at US$15billion by 2024.

GEPA has said that it has, under the National Export Development Strategy programme, targetted earning more than US$10billion in revenue from non-traditional exports by end of 2028.

Since its establishment, Ghana’s Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) sector has grown from US$2million annually in the early 1980s to US$2.8billion in 2018. However, with coming of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), GEPA wants to take advantage and roll out a project that will ensure the country derives maximum benefit from it, hence the Export Development Strategy.

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