The government has earmarked GH¢20 million for the development of irrigation facilities in seven locations in four regions to boost the production of export crops.
The move is to enable Ghana maximise earnings from the non-traditional export sector.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated this when he appeared before Parliament.
He was answering a question posed by the Member of Parliament for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, on what steps were being taken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to promote the pineapple trade.
Mr Iddrisu said it was expected that that support would lead to the significant development and expansion of the non-traditional export sector to enhance Ghana’s target of harnessing some five billion dollars from exports by the end of 2017.
Ghana currently earns about 2.3 billion dollars from non-traditional exports.
He said government had recognised the high prospects of Ghana’s agro-based economy for increased export, and added that seven out of the nine priority product sectors had been identified for support in the national export strategy.
They included crop-based product sectors such as fruits including pineapples, vegetables, cashew, shea nut and yam among others.
He said 23 products had been lined up for implementation, with the thrust of government’s policy being the provision of support for the expansion of the production and supply base of the priority products, as well as the development of export markets for them.
Mr Iddrisu said GH¢12 million had been allocated for the acquisition of farming inputs and working capital for 12 selected members of the Sea Freight Pineapple Exporters Association in the Nsawam-Bawjiase enclave.
That, he said, was to enable them to expand production in 2014 and to diversify into the production of other short gestation high value crops such as the pricey Galia melons.
He said that government had recommended that the EDAIF support four pineapple out grower producer groups by the first quarter of this year to enable them to increase the supply of raw fruits to off takers such as exporters and people who process fruits.
The minister said that EDAIF had also supported the development of mango plantations in the three northern regions, the northern parts of Brong Ahafo and Volta regions, resulting in the establishment of 6,500 acres of mangoes by the end of 2013, with an expected expansion in 2014.
He said that under a stimulus package, additional funding support would be provided in 2014 to 5,000 smallholder cashew farmers and processors in Wenchi, Techiman and Bole, to enable them to expand the cultivation and processing of the crop for export.
Additionally, farmers in the three northern regions would be provided with two million shea nut seedlings to cultivate alongside their annual crops to ensure sustainable development of the crop.
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