Chief Executive Officer of Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) William Agyapong Quaittoo has called for investment in tree crop development to enhance the country’s climate conditions and drive economic growth.
TCDA is positioning the country to earn about US$16billion annually from the six selected tree crops from 2028. This is to diversify the overreliance on cocoa as the major export commodity of the country, with an annual income of about US$2.5billion.
The Executive Director said the investments would make available funds to grow more economically viable trees to curb climate change, which is affecting food security, as well as serve as an avenue for job creation.
“Fostering policy and regulatory environment conducive to both public and private sector investment to stimulate growth and also respond adequately to market trends and demands, a strengthened and well-coordinated research agenda is required to help drive quality and competitiveness in tree crop production, processing and trading.
“The illegal cutting of trees, mining and industrialisation are some of the challenges governments and the private sectors are battling with to ensure economic growth while the implementation of the forest bye-laws, accompanied by the growth of more economic trees to replace the old and the destroyed ones would help mitigate the issue at hand,” Mr. Quaittoo stressed.
The Executive Director, who disclosed this to the B&FT in an interview, noted that the authority is mandated to regulate and develop the shea sector to boost the economic activities of the shea pickers and processors who depend on them for their livelihoods.
Investment in the sector would also strengthen the business acumen and capacities of shea cooperatives and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating the value chain, targetting 150 cooperatives and 300 SMEs to create 90,000 work opportunities for women shea collectors and processors, he said.
He noted that the organisation was committed to developing a sustainable environment for the improvement of the agricultural sector to grow the economy and it focuses on the production, processing and trading of six tree crops in Ghana, namely: cashew, mango, coconut, rubber and oil palm.
“As an authority, our top priority is to take a systematic approach to build a world-class national institution capable of orchestrating a competitive and sustainable market-driven tree crop industry in Ghana,” he emphasised.
According to him, a thriving private sector is therefore required to drive the scale and sustainability of growth in the tree crop industry, hence, establishing the authority to champion the course for the growth of the sector and the economy.
He noted that the authority has developed a five-year strategic framework to nurture a competitive and sustainable tree crops industry. The plan, covering a period of 2022 to 2027, is expected to rake in US$12billion annually from the six key tree crops.
The framework is divided into four areas, namely: conducting, helping and encouraging scientific, technological and socio-economic research on tree crops through national agricultural research institutions, production and value chain support in Ghana.
He said the authority would also embark on sensitisation exercises to ensure farmers and the public on the need to help protect the forest reserves, as well as the environment.