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Business News of Friday, 31 January 2020

Source: Business & Financial Times

B&FT Editorial: Greenhouse farming can revolutionise vegetable sub-sector

It is estimated that Ghana can realise US$1billion from vegetable exports in the next six years with the expansion of Greenhouse villages in all parts of the country.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo believes pursuit of the 'Greenhouse Village' project will benefit the country immensely, particularly as it has the prospect of replacing imported vegetables with locally grown ones.

The Greenhouse Village project, signed between the government of Ghana and an Israeli company in 2015, is expected to see the construction of three Greenhouse Villages - with the option of adding another two upon completion at a cost of US$19.7million.

Government's vision of modernising and transforming agriculture is on course, and the adoption of greenhouse technology is just an example of that transition. One of the main advantages of growing in a greenhouse is that it offers you a longer growing season.

The protection from pests and predators offered by the greenhouse is another huge advantage. This is where the country can reap a windfall, since traditionally vegetable exports from the country occasionally find it difficult to enter the European market because of phyto-sanitary reasons.

Since greenhouse cultivation wards of pests and predators, our fruit and vegetable exports will be of premium quality and consequently fetch premium prices.

Bad weather like high winds, dust storms, thunderstorms and blizzards can all cause damage. However, a greenhouse offers plants a layer of protection from the elements, and this is an added advantage.

Its possible to grow plants without all those dangerous, toxic pesticides when growing in a greenhouse; and this also will alleviate fears of chemical residues in vegetables - which is also another reason why vegetable and fruits exports from the country are often rejected in the more developed economies of Europe and the USA.

Diversifying the country's export revenue base is crucial for building a resilient economy, and that is why greenhouse technology is welcome and must be sustained.