Government has launched an ambitious programme to diversify the country’s agricultural export capacity to include other tree crops with equal economic values as cocoa.
The initiative, Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), which is a collaboration between Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is expected to fetch the country 12 billions dollars in export.
Six major tree crops – coconut, rubber, cashew, oil palm, coffee and shea have been placed under the PERD programme.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the six tree crops have the potential to outstrip cocoa and diversify the country’s economy from the over-reliance on only one crop as the major export commodity.
“The Ghana Beyond Aid vision can only be achieved if we are able to increase our agricultural export capacity, this is what we hope to do through the PERD programme. The six crops combined can each fetch us $2BN in terms of exporting the raw materials alone and this does not include value addition” the Minister noted at a recent Cocoa Value Chain Summit organised by Ecobank in Accra.
The PERD is one of the components of Government’s agricultural flagship policy Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
Other programmes include Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ)which is the livestock component, Agricultural Mechanization Centres (AMSEC) and Greenhouse Villages Initiative.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto said millions of seedlings had been nursed and were being distributed to farmers at the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as part of the PERD programme.
The Minister also highlighted a number of programmes which have been put in place by Government to enhance the revenue earned from cocoa, including the proposed establishment of a $100 million dollar cocoa processing factory at Sefwi Wiawso to add value to raw cocoa.