The government, through the Food and Agriculture Ministry (MoFA), is anticipating generating an annual revenue of some US$12 billion from exports of six selected tree crops – rubber, shea, mango, oil palm, cashew and coconut fruits, the sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has disclosed.

The minister, who was speaking at the launch of a 5-year Strategic Plan of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) in Accra, said the strategic plan is designed to offer a lifeline to the tree crop sector in the country.

“In the next five years – by 2027, our target is for each of the selected tree crops to generate a revenue of at least US$2 billion, equivalent to that of the annual revenue of cocoa. This is achievable per stipulations of the strategy,” he said.

Indeed, cocoa production, which has been the backbone of the economy as the most important cash crop for over 120 years, has been under threat as a result of decreased land for production in the last few years due to deforestation, climate change and other human factors.

But Dr. Akoto said the tree crop sector, which is being cultivated by over 1.6 million households other than cocoa, is a great way to diversify the economy by creating more jobs and reducing poverty.

While the country’s tree crop industry has huge potential, Dr. Akoto admitted that it faces systemic challenges such as low productivity, poor quality produce, price volatility, limited access to finance and markets and a sub-optimal regulatory environment.

“These six crops have the potential to generate more than US$16billion in foreign exchange revenue by 2030,” he added.

Why the launch of the 5-year TCDA strategic plan?

To address the above-mentioned issues, the TCDA is established and mandated by law (Tree Crops Development Act, 2019 (Act 1010) to regulate and develop tree crop production, processing and sustainable trading in international markets.

The 5-year strategy and implementation plan (2022-2027), was developed with assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and funded by the Swiss government, will therefore serve as an investment framework to guide the mobilisation of both public and private investments toward a competitive tree crop industry in Ghana.

CEO of TCDA, William Quaittoo, said the authority’s top priority is to take a systematic approach to build a world-class national institution capable of orchestrating a competitive and sustainable market-driven tree crop production in Ghana.

Medium-term priority areas

Mr. Quaittoo said the sector anticipates significant changes in the tree crop industry in three areas over the medium term, namely: business enabling environment through improved business regulations; an investment policy promotion through a strengthened investment policy framework; and agribusiness competitiveness through support for tree crops development.

IFC, DPs support

Senior Regional Manager of IFC, Kyle Kelhofer, indicated that the five-year plan will be crucial and challenging, adding: “We, at IFC, are keen and ready to continue our positive collaboration with the leadership of TCDA and all development partners (DPs) toward building a sustainable and competitive industry in Ghana”.

Source: Business and Financial Times