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Business News of Monday, 15 August 2022

Source: thebftonline.com

Government backs coconut sector for increased revenues, growth

File photo of coconut File photo of coconut

The 2022 edition of the International Coconut Festival, organised by Africa Coconut Group and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has been launched at Ellembele in the Western Region – with a renewed government promise to develop the coconut industry and make it a significant and reliable revenue source.

The second edition of the International Coconut Festival is on the theme ‘Repositioning Ghana’s Coconut Sector for Accelerated Industrialization’, and aims at exploring ways of expediting growth of the sector by adding value to the raw materials produced from coconut.

Delivering the opening remarks at the event, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Afua Asabea Asare disclosed plans of government to provide adequate support for investors to set up coconut processing factories under the One District, One Factory initiative.

She noted that since arrival of the Akufo-Addo government in 2017, GEPA has committed significant resources to the coconut industry, owing to its recognition of the industry as one with export, job creation and revenue potential.

She stated that through its effective partnership with the African Coconut Group, some policy initiatives were rolled out and the results are already being felt.

“GEPA has made modest but quite significant investments in the sector since 2017, by procuring and distributing disease-tolerant coconut seedlings to coconut farmers across the major coconut farming regions in the country. So far, we have distributed close to 700,000 seedlings covering some 11,200 acres. We are not relenting in our efforts until we get to the point where the industry is mature and can be on its own.

“We equally recognise the fact that the Ministries of Food and Agriculture and Local Government and Rural Development have also invested significantly in the sector through the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) Programme. Of course, we are not oblivious of the central role that the African Coconut Group, led by Mr. Davies Korboe and his able colleagues, has played in advocating strongly for development of the sector to boost export revenues,” she said.

She commended government for setting up the Tree Crops Development Authority, which she reckons will impact positively on the coconut industry.

“We also applaud government for establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) that GEPA and other stakeholders had strongly advocated for. We believe the Authority’s mandate and activities will accrue to the sector’s benefit, coconut being one of the key tree crops under the Authority. We are happy to say that our two institutions have been collaborating well on various issues, and on the occasion of this launch call for greater inter-institutional cooperation to quicken the sector’s pace of development,” she said.

Davis Korboe, Chairman of the African Coconut Group, provided details about activities lined up for the festival’s second edition.

“The event will be characterised by exhibitions of high and low-level technologies in the coconut industry, business seminars, financial support platforms, networking, talks, field visits, senior high and university level competitions, colloquiums and others,” he said.

He remarked that the festival’s objective is to bring investors from across the world to export coconut from Ghana. While lamenting the negative impact of COVID-19 on the sector, Mr. Korboe noted that the industry would have been on its knees but for support from GEPA.

CEO of CocoBenz, Bender Owusu Antwi said: “Venturing into coconut must not only consider production but also value addition, because value creates attention and attention becomes our currency…value surpasses all means of short-cuts to curb unemployment”.

The serial entrepreneur and businessman said involvement of the youth in agriculture is vital because they are more energetic, productive and receptive to new ideas and advanced technologies, and he believes this will impact the drive to create value in the coconut industry.

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