The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has earmarked GH¢4.2million to implement development of smooth cayenne variety pineapples into a niche market in the European Union.
The funding will go into addressing supply chain challenges and to promote the export of air-freighted smooth cayenne pineapples to the European Union, with the aim of realising some US$13,500,000 in estimated projected earnings over a period of four to five years.
It is expected to result in the injection of over 15,000,000 suckers of smooth cayenne pineapple varieties into the system, CEO of the GEPA Ms. Gifty Kekeli Klenam said at the 77th National Exporters’ Forum in Accra, held under the theme ‘Supporting the Non-Traditional Export Sector for Economic Transformation’.
The Exporters’ Forum, which brought together leading non-traditional exporters, trade experts, government officials and other stakeholders, offered a common platform for exporters and trade officials to discuss and find solutions to challenges along the value chain of the export business.
Ms. Klenam indicated that non-traditional exports hold the key to the country’s export diversification drive.
She stated that GEPA has developed and will subsequently roll out initiatives in other sector value chains such as yam, vegetables, cashew, shea, processed cocoa and mango.
The implementation of these initiatives will enable GEPA to achieve a significant increase in the share of NTEs in total exports, as a major step toward structural transformation of the export sector for spearheading growth and diversification of the Ghanaian economy.
She said the plan formed part of GEPAs initiatives in response to the dwindling supply base of exportable products, through the development of new and improved seedlings for planting to improve the competitiveness of Ghanaian products in both local and international markets.
Ms. Klenam said despite Ghana’s subscription to regional and multilateral trade agreements, the non-existence of its own policy document on export promotion strategy partly explains why Ghana could not take full advantage of these agreements.
It is in this direction and furtherance to the strategic objective of the National Export Strategy that GEPA had set its strategic objective of increasing the contribution of non-traditional exports from the current US$2.4billion to US$10billion.
“Export development is an essential component of a country’s competitiveness agenda in the 21st century, and a critical element of job-creation in the immediate term.
“Our inability to achieve that can be attributed partly to reactive and fragmented exports that were insufficiently funded,” she said.
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah, said NTEs comprise a considerable number of products and the country needs a broader export base – using its comparative strength in agri-business, minerals, services, oil and other areas.
He said it is about time measures were implemented to move the NTEs forward, and lauded the initiatives GEPA is adopting to increase export earnings and reinvigorate the sector.
He urged exporters to register and renew their exporter businesses with GEPA through the Ghana’s Trade Hub Single Window Platform, so as to help in the formulation of programmes to support exporters.
Mr. Ahenkorah urged the exporters to position themselves to be able to take advantage of the continental free trade area in Africa, likely to come into force in 2018.
“Our goal as a government is simple: to build the most business-friendly and people-friendly economy in Africa, which will create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians. We will ensure that growth is socially responsible, diversified, spread geographically, comes from genuine value addition, and be environmentally sensitive and fair to all participants in the economy – including labour,” he said.