The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says through various strategic interventions, the country is making significant strides in terms of coconut production and export on the global stage.
Dr Afua Asabea Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, said currently, Ghana was ranked 12th in world production of coconut and the number one producer in Africa.
She said: “Our coconut oil, juice and other derivatives are now sought after on international markets, thanks to their quality, taste and authenticity”.
Dr Asare was speaking to at the opening of the third International Coconut Festival, held in Takoradi, on the theme: “Invest in Ghana’s Coconut Sector for an Inclusive Economic Transformation and Improved Climate and Social Resilience”.
The three-day event was jointly organized by the African Coconut Group (ACG), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC).
She said producers had embraced sustainable farming practices that not only protect the environment but also ensure the long-term viability of the coconut industry.
According to her, the vision of GEPA’s coconut intervention programme since 2017 was to make Ghana at least fifth globally in the production and export of coconut products.
“It is in this light that we launched the coconut revitalization intervention six years ago with a clear objective of reviving the then ailing coconut industry to improve the supply capacity of the value chain having realized the growing demand trend for coconut globally”, the GEPA CEO noted.
Highlighting some of GEPA’s intervention in the coconut sector, Dr Asare indicated that the Authority had procured and distributed disease-tolerant coconut seedlings to coconut farmers across the major coconut farming Regions in the country.
“So far, we have distributed over a million seedlings covering some 15,200 acres. We are not relenting on our efforts until we get to the point where the industry is mature and can be on its own”, she added.
Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, Minister for Trade and Industry, in a speech read on his behalf, commended GEPA and its partners including ACG, TCDA and WRCC for driving the coconut sector development agenda for sustainable economic growth in the country.
He said coconut was one of the key tree crops that the government was focusing its attention on to stimulate interventions that would create jobs, increase income, reduce poverty, and improve the overall economic wellbeing of the teeming youth in that sector.
Obrempon Hima Dekyi XIV, Paramount Chief of Upper Dixcove, who chaired the festival, said coconut had the potential to overtake cocoa as Ghana’s highest tree crop export commodity if appropriate strategies were put in place.
He therefore appealed to all traditional authorities and family heads as well as landowners to strive to make land acquisition easier for coconut farmers and investors to help harness the full potential of the coconut sector.