By Selorm GBORBIDZI, Accra
MINISTER of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto says tree crops have the potential to generate about $16 billion in foreign exchange revenues for Ghana by 2030
According to him, it is for this reason that Cabinet has approved $5 million annual seed fund for the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) for five years.
He stated this at the launch of a five-year strategic plan of TCDA in Accra yesterday.
The Minister expressed his belief that the TCDA five-year plan will serve as an investment framework to guide the mobilization of both public and private investments toward the development of a competitive and sustainable tree crop industry in Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer of the TCDA, William Quaittoo stated that the priority of the Authority was to “build a world-class national institution, capable of orchestrating a competitive and sustainable market-driven tree crop industry.”
He indicated that his outfit had anticipated significant changes to take place in three areas of the tree crop sector over the next few years.
These will include fostering a policy and regulatory environment that is conducive to both public and private sector investments to stimulate growth.
It was his hope that the Authority will be better able to respond to market trends and demands, an aspiration that will require a strengthened and well-coordinated research agenda to drive quality and competitiveness in the sector.
These will be done in the areas of production, processing, and trading.
He acknowledged the role that a thriving private sector will play in driving the scale and sustainability of growth of the industry.
The framework is captured under four key focus areas: support for adaptive research, production and value chain support, capacity building, and licensing and regulation.
Quaittoo conceded that the Authority is operating in a rapidly changing environment, thus, the strategic direction of the Authority must account for this.
He said, “With this [situation] in mind, we’ve created a five-year strategy and implementation plan with the intention of monitoring and measuring success on a regular basis.”
The Acting Head of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy, Anne Schick, on her part said that the development of the Plan, “brings the TCDA closer to operationalisation.”
The TCDA is needed to provide an environment that will enable tree crops develop their potential to add to the economic development of the country., by creating jobs and reducing poverty.
In order to diversify and develop its economy, she said, “Ghana may need more attractive framework conditions for sustainable growth, as well as decent income opportunities for the population.”
Senior Regional Manager of the IFC, Kyle Kelhofer, said that the IFC was happy to expand its support when the Government announced its decision to expand the scope of the TCDA from two crops to six crops, in order to diversify and bring higher value to exports from Ghana.
“This,” he said, “is in support of Ghana’s continued efforts to move up the value and bring more and better agriculture sector business to Ghana, and more and better jobs to Ghana.”
Kelhofer stressed the importance of agriculture to job creation and economic stability, even as more and more countries around the world turn their attention to industrialization, highlighting the competitive advantages that Ghana has in this sector.
The development of the five-year plan was undertaken between September of last year and March of this year, with funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the technical assistance of the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) of the World Bank.
SOURCE: The Finder/Ghana