An analysis of the non-traditional export statistics released by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) showed the agricultural sub-sector contributed US$476 million to last year’s earnings.

The amount, compared to the US$433.02 million earned in 2020, shows an increase of 9.93 percent. This sub-sector contributed 14.29 percent to total NTE earnings in the year under review.

A comparative analysis of the top 10 agric products showed that cashew nut was the top earner of all agric produce in 2021, with an increase in its performance by 14.35 percent over 2020 and contributed 60.38 percent to the total sub-sector earnings.

Flowers was the lowest earner in the top 10 agric earners, contributing about one percent to total sub-sector earnings and posted a growth of 8.10 percent over its 2020 earnings.

Agric products

A breakdown shows that banana – US$35,567, 549 (12.76 per cent), fresh or chilled tunas- US$20,562,085 (24.81 per cent), mangoes -US$19,507,483 (5.05 per cent), yams -US$11,490,801 (14.44 per cent), medicinal plants and parts-US$9,791,289 (26.59 per cent), and pineapples -US$9,464,942 (29.04 per cent), recorded relative decline in performance in the period under review.

Other products that recorded an increase in performance are shea nut (karite nuts) – US$20,193,542 (46.43 percent), and soya beans – US$18,563,952 (45.93 percent).

Growing agric exports

Under the new National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) are some strategic interventions for agro and non-agro raw materials production.

For instance, a strategy document has been developed to grow yam exports from US$11,490,801 (2021) to about US$108 million by 2029.

The NEDS which is expected to give a significant boost to Ghana’s export volumes seeks to grow NTEs from their current value to US$25.3 billion in 2029.

An amount of US$60 million will be invested annually under the NEDS to diversify and grow the country’s exports.

Among the specific interventions in the strategy document relating to the yam export industry are to develop a land use policy to secure dedicated areas for yam cultivation for export; develop improved varieties for consumption and industry; strengthen links between research and development institutions and the yam industry; promote the introduction of mechanised yam cultivation, and support provision appropriate irrigation infrastructure.

The strategy rests on three pillars, namely to expand and diversify the supply base for value-added industrial export products and services; to improve the business, and regulatory environment for export; and to build and expand the required human capital for industrial export development and marketing.

Horticultural products, of which yam is inclusive, are among the integrated list of 17 priority products that will be developed based on some specific criteria aimed at transforming the economy from a raw material base to an industrialised one.

Others on the list are processed cocoa, cashew, oil seeds, fish and fishery products, textiles and garments and natural rubber sheets.

The rest are articles of plastic and other petrochemical products, services, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel products, automobiles and vehicles, industrial salt, machinery and components, industrial starch and sugar.

The GEPA is spearheading the implementation of the NEDS using a private-sector-driven approach.