The government has set a revenue target of US$1 billion from export of vegetables over the next six to seven years.
The projection is banked on recent investments in green house villages at Bawjiase, Akomadan and Dawhenya and the construction of irrigation dams across the country, which the government expects would help farmers to increase production of quality vegetables that meet export standards.
“These [green house villages] are designed to boost the production of high value vegetables in the country and are projected that the country could reap earnings of about US$1 billion from vegetable exports by the next six to seven years,” said Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye.
She spoke in Accra at the launch of the 36th National Farmers’ Day -2020, themed ‘COVID-19 – challenges and opportunities’. The event is to be held on November 6, 2020 in Techiman, the capital of the Bono East Region.
Over the past few years, export of vegetables to the international market, particularly the European Union, has been met with several challenges, including phytosanitary and standard concerns.
For instance, in May 2019, the government banned export of capsicum, solanum, luffa and all leafy vegetables to the international market, which was lifted later that year.
Also between 2014 and 2017, the country lost about US$30 million in revenue as a result of another ban on vegetable exports into the EU, when the products were found to be non-complaint with the standards.
However, the Minister is hopeful that renewed commitment in the form of investment in green house villages, post harvest infrastructure will help boost vegetables export again.
“Ghana’s agriculture is now transforming from subsistence and primary production to one of value addition and agribusiness. Simply what this implies is that emphasis and value will also be placed on all activities such as transportation, marketing, distribution, processing and storage.
The expected benefits will include massive investment in the sector, job creation, market expansion, competitiveness of goods and services and a new spirit of business entrepreneurship for agriculture.
A number of small-dam projects are being carried out under the One Village One Dam programme of government. Other interventions include the building of 80 warehouses by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives to address the perennial problem of post-harvest loses.”
To her, the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have reinforced government’s priority placed on the agriculture sector, including fisheries.
She further noted the government’s plan for achieving the policy objectives and programmes of the agricultural sector as outlined in the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies – agenda for jobs, creating prosperity and equal opportunity for all is titled Investment for Food and Jobs (IFJ). The main thrust of the plan is to ensure the realization of the objective of modernizing the agri-food system.
The IFJ is also expected to provide structured public investment and leverage private investment in three ways. These include: developing critical infrastructure to modernize the agri-food system, building both public and private sector systems to create enabling and outcome results respectively and direct transfer to farmers, agri-food enterprises and other value chain actors.
For the fisheries subsector, she revealed that construction of 12 fish landing sites project, which have been on the drawing board since 2006, have begun in coastal communities such as Teshie, Gomoah Fetteh, Senya Beraku, Winneba, Mumford, Moree, Dixcove and Axim, while fishing harbours are also being constructed at Elmina, Jamestown and Keta.
These landing sites, according to her, will provide safe berthing for fishing vessels including canoes and semi-industrial vessels as well as provide facilities for improving fish handling and reducing post-harvest losses. Facilities at these landing sites include, markets, cold storage facilities, crèche for children of fish processes and traders as well as clinics.