Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister has called on industry players to help promote and develop the coconut industry while making it a significant reliable revenue source.
He also called on the investors to explore opportunities in the Western Region to invest in the coconut production industry since the Region contributes more than 80 per cent of the country’s coconuts for export.
He hinted that the region in 2020 launched a five million coconut project which saw at its commencement an establishment of two new seed gardens in the Shama and Jomoro Districts in addition to the existing two at Aiyinase and Bonsaso in the Ellembelle District.
The initiative, he said was meant to revamp the coconut industry in the region and expressed the hope that $400,000,000 would be accrued to farmers per year should the four (4) million coconut trees planted for the project survive.
Mr Darko-Mensah made the call when he chaired the 2nd International Coconut Festival which was held on the theme, “Repositioning Ghana’s Coconut Sector For Accelerated Industrialization”.
The festival was rganised by Africa Coconut Group in collaboration with Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and aims at providing exposure to businesses involved in the production and processing of coconut, and showcase innovations to attract local and foreign direct investment.
According to him, there was a high demand for coconuts which has been increasing by 10 per cent each year on a global scale which Ghana hasn’t truly capitalised on and therefore, deemed the festival a timely intervention.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in a speech read on his behalf, indicated that coconut was one of the tree crops that the Ministry was promoting under its Food and Agriculture Development Policy.
He said the sector had been identified by the government as a major driver of the economy into the next decades based on the economic potential of the crop, including food security, environmental protection and poverty alleviation.
The Minister said the growing interest in the health benefits of coconut and its value-added products had resulted in a growing demand for its consumption alongside its various industrial uses.
He urged the Tree Crops Development Authority and all its stakeholders to work together to overcome the challenges confronting the sub-sector to enable it contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, said his outfit remained resolute in its support of the coconut sector as it adopts a multi-faceted approach to augment production through agencies such as the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, who since 2017 had distributed about 600,000 disease-tolerant coconut seedlings to organised groups and associations.
He called for existing institutional synergies to strengthenand promote the coconut sector, especially when it currently employed close to 360,000 persons along the value chain.
The Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Ms Afua Asabea Asare, said GEPA’s 2021 Non-Traditional Export Statistics raked in $11.44 million while coconut oil earned Ghana $6.99 million in export earnings representing 132 per cent and 33 per cent increase respectively over the 2020 figures.
She was of the view that with a lot more strategic aggression in the promotion of more derivatives of coconut, the country can gain a lot more ground.
The Chairman of African Coconut Group, Mr Davies Narh Korboe expressed the Group’s continuous collaboration to stimulate trade and investment in the agri-food sector in Ghana in order to improve productivity and value as well as job creation.