The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has recently partnered the OVCF with an aim to revamp the citrus industry.
Through this partnership, ADB is giving financial support to the Central Citrus Limited company to develop and cultivate the over-3,000 acres of abandoned citrus farms located in the Central Region/Cape Coast.
It is estimated that the company will generate an income of about GH¢250million annually.
This support by ADB is expected to go a long way in creating more sustainable jobs, and also cut down on the importation of fruit-juice into the country.
Central Citrus Limited will be getting a direct off-take from the Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Factory to make sure their produce is used to blend the Eku tropical varieties to enhance their taste.
This support by ADB means the bank has bought into the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take off the shelves most of these foreign products and bring in Ghanaian products.
Ghana has the two most suitable sources of oranges coming after South Africa, which makes it a prudent venture that ADB has signed onto.
The decision by ADB to go into this venture will lead to the creation of more jobs – promoting processing, reducing importation and shielding the cedi from unnecessary pressure.
The enclave has over 75 thousand acres of citrus, and with the support from ADB it will scale up economic activities sharply.
The average citrus farmers have abandoned their farms because of poor revenue coupled with insect infestation and plant diseases, together with unproductive work processes which often hamper cultivation. Many of the seedlings are pest-ridden, making them useless for further planting.
This frustration usually makes the farmers switch over to the cultivation of rubber and cassava.
For the past 10 years most citrus farms have been abandoned, as the importation of finished products has outweighed the processing opportunities in the country.
ADB’s financial support is to help improve the quality of citrus production and increase sustainable income for all actors along the citrus value chain.
Citrus fruit have long been valued as part of a nutritious and tasty diet. The flavours provided by citrus are among the most preferred in the world, and it is increasingly evident that citrus not only tastes good but is also good for people. It is well established that citrus and citrus products are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre (non-starch polysaccharides) that are essential for normal growth and development as well as overall nutritional well-being.