Vegetable producers and exporters in the country are targetting an annual revenue of US$7million between now and next year as contribution to the non-traditional export sector (NTE).
The revenue projection is the result of increasing demands in the EU and US markets coupled with high production capacity in Ghana.
“We are scaling-up production, expanding markets to other continents and seeing how best we can ship by sea to increase revenue,” Dr. Felix Kamassah, President of Ghana Vegetables, told the B&FT at the newly amalgamated alliance’s launch.
He said vegetable and fruit production requires critical investment with a collective front, hence the decision of two leading actors in the country’s vegetable sector – the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) and the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX) – to unionise under a new alliance called Ghana Vegetables.
Statistics from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) indicate that the NTEs contributed US$3.3billion in 2021, reflecting an increase of about 17 percent over the 2020 earnings of US$2.8billion.
In 2021, the horticultural sector’s earnings of the entire agriculture sector amounted to US$476million, with US$3.4million being revenue from the vegetable sector.
GEPA’s Deputy CEO, Albert Kassim Diwura, who was speaking at the launch ceremony said vegetables are listed as a priority product in the National Export Development Strategy of the country, and therefore requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders to deepen exports.
“I am delighted to learn that the two leading institutions in the country’s vegetable sector have decided to merge forces to increase the production and export of vegetables. This timely union is expected to bring beneficial synergies to increase revenue through exports,” Mr. Diwura said.
Key interventions by the GEPA to vegetable producers in the recent past, according to him, include the handing over of vegetable seeds valued at GH¢90million – including advocacy for the Ministry of Trade to provide direct cargo flights to the EU.
“GEPA has also through numerous fairs and exhibitions abroad exposed producers and exporters to international best practices, among others,” he indicated.
CEO of the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing-System for Agriculture Lending (GIRSAL), Kwesi Korboe, said amalgamation of the two associations will deepen standards and ensure vegetables and fruit from Ghana become competitive in the global market.
He reiterated calls for a horticultural authority to execute guidelines on quality vegetable production to meet global market standards on cultivation, packaging among others.
“At the end of the day, the industry must operate within a strong regulatory environment, hence the considerations for an authority to regulate the fruit and vegetables sector,” Mr. Korboe disclosed.
The coming together of the two associations into the new Ghana Vegetables is expected to increase production and supply of quality fruit and vegetables in Ghana, so as to boost exports and create a competitive and innovative high value fruit and vegetable sector.