The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare says, with the necessary investment, Ghana can become a leading global supplier of coconut and generate significant export revenue for the country.
Ghana is set to hold the second edition of the International Coconut Conference Festival, ICF, from Tuesday, 20th to Friday 23rd September. The four day Trade and exhibition event will among others bring together key stakeholders in the coconut growing and processing industry
Speaking at the launch of the event in Ellembele in the Western Region, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare disclosed that in 2021 “fresh coconut export amounted to US$1.44 million while its derivatives accounted for close to US$7 million”.
She added that “although modest, it shows a lot of prospects for growth. If the right policies and interventions are deployed to support the sector, it has the potential to generate some US$2.846 billion with a contribution of 84.35% from the semi-processed and processed sector, it has the potential to generate some US$2.8 billion in export revenue annually”.
According to GEPA CEO, the desire to quicken the pace of development of the coconut industry as a whole, with emphasis on value addition is what informed this year’s theme of the festival, “Repositioning Ghana’s Coconut Sector for Accelerated Industrialization”.
As Ghana continues to battle with the increasing rate of unemployment, Dr. Asare believes that investing in Ghana’s burgeoning coconut industry could provide jobs for the teeming youth.
“There are several SMEs in this value chain which are doing very well and when assisted both technically and financially would expand rapidly and be able to increase their market both domestically and internationally. Additionally, they would be in a better position to offer employment to the teeming youth who are seeking decent jobs to do. We believe the private sector needs to expand and we know this sector has one of the biggest potentials and absorptive capacity as far as employment is concerned”.
The Ghana Export Promotions Authority boss used the opportunity to also woo local and foreign investors to take keen interest in Ghana’s Coconut industry
“Therefore, during this second edition of the ICF, we encourage local and foreign investors and SMEs looking to upscale their activities to be on the lookout for an extended range of innovative coconut products in cosmetics, food and beverages, medication, grooming products as well as art & crafts,” she emphasised.
GEPA has since 2017 distributed close to seven hundred thousand seedlings covering some eleven thousand two hundred acres.