Some coconut on exhibition
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is working tirelessly to open up new markets and trade opportunities for those in the coconut sector.
Currently, the sector employs about 360,000 Ghanaians and when given the needed support it would be in a better position to offer more employment opportunities to the teeming youth seeking descent jobs.
About 5.4% of the country’s population also depends on coconut farming as a means of livelihood.
Chief Executive Officer of the GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, disclosed this at the opening of the 3rd International Coconut Festival held in Takoradi yesterday.
The three-day event is being partnered by the African Coconut Group on the theme, “Invest in Ghana’s Coconut Sector for an Inclusive Climate and Social Resilience.”
The event brought together key stakeholders in the coconut value chain both locally and those from some African countries including Nigeria and Sierra Leon.
The festival is aimed at highlighting the economic and health benefits of the commodity, promoting investment, and opening new marketing opportunities for the sector.
It is also supported by the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) and SOLIDARIDAD.
The CEO of GEPA noted that Ghana is making its mark on the global stage when it comes to coconut production. “Our coconut oil, water and other derivatives are the most sought after on the international market”, she added.
She revealed that currently, Ghana is ranked 12th in the world production of coconut and number one producer in Africa.
She indicated that her outfit had distributed over one million disease resistance coconut seedlings to coconut farmers across the major coconut growing region’s in the country.
She however, stressed the need for more investment in the sector to increase production as the current global demand for coconut is estimated at $4.5 billion but Ghana’s export is only $11 million.
Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, mentioned that the Region stands out as a major contributor to the industry, producing approximately 80 percent of Ghana’s total coconut exports and firmly establishing itself as the industry’s hub in the country.
The Acting CEO of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), William Quaitoo pledged the Authority’s support to grow value addition in the coconut industry.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi