GHANA – The Government has secured a US$200 million loan facility from the World Bank to support the ‘Tree Crop Diversification Project, a program aimedto upscale the production of tree crops particularly coconut.
According to Ghana News, the financed program would enable the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) to undertake research and development of different varieties of coconut, and cashew among others to increase production for export.
Additionally, the support would also go into strengthening institutional value chain governance, improving tree crop adaptation and climate change resilience, and supporting post-harvest management and value addition lapses of the four selected tree crops.
Dr. Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, announced this while reading a speech during the launch of the 2023 International Coconut Festival in Accra.
Dr. Acheampong revealed that the TCDA is expected to work closely with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop disease-resistant varieties for the tree crops in a bid to upscale the production of the selected tree crops for export and position Ghana as a leader in the global market.
The International Coconut Festival is scheduled from September 26 to 28, 2023, in Takoradi of the Western Region.
Themed “Invest in Ghana’s Coconut Sector for an Inclusive Economic Transformation and Improved Climate and Social Resilience, the event would be characterized by exhibitions, seminars, networking, capacity-building workshops for farmers, and negotiations with financial institutions for funding.
Mr Albert Kassim Diwura, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, GEPA, expressed optimism that the launch of the Coconut Festival would propel the coconut agenda to greater heights.
In 2017, he said, the Authority started the Coconut Revitalization Programme, to improve the supply capacity of the value chain and revitalise the once-struggling coconut sector. The rising global demand for coconuts was the driving force behind the intervention.
“While we acknowledge that coconut production is a multi-billion-dollar industry, it is important to note that all the top-producing nations, mostly in Asia, are earning significant rewards as a result of the significant investments in the value chain,” Diwura noted.
According to him, Ghana is well-positioned to emerge as a leading global supplier of coconut products, thereby generating significant export revenues adding that the TCDA’s initiatives are poised to fortify the sector, with coconut being a vital tree crop within its purview.
He added that the ministry has already procured and disseminated disease-resistant coconut seedlings to farmers across the major coconut farming regions in the country.
He further called for enhanced inter-institutional cooperation to accelerate the coconut sector’s advancement. “We remain optimistic and encouraged by the support we are receiving, and we invite other stakeholders to join hands and contribute to these endeavors”.