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15.03.2007 General News

MCA to fix pineapple business

By myjoyonline

Food & Agriculture Minister Ernest Debrah says the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) will help close current gaps in the export and marketing of farm produce especially pineapple between Ghanaian companies and their foreign competitors.

He was speaking during a visit to a pineapple farm (Bomarts Farms) by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. His explanation followed a statement by the Managing Director of Bomarts Farms, Anthony Botchway that they lack the required funding to set-up a complete production unit for the processing of the fruit to the required standard.

The production facility available only allows for them to produce a second grade fruit that does not attract the right market price although they have an advantage in terms of production and weather.

Mr. Botchway says they produce two varieties of pineapple- the smooth cayenne and MD 2 (Extra Sweet or Golden variety), explaining that the introduction of the MD 2 variety on the international market has pushed the traditional Ghanaian export variety (smooth cayenne) out of the market.

According to him, because of the increased demand for the MD 2, farmers are in a terrible situation because nobody wants the smooth cayenne variety. He appealed to the minister for an extension of some lifeline to farmers or they'll be out of business.

The World Bank has decided to sponsor a horticultural exports industry initiative which seeks to assist smallholders in converting their smooth cayenne fields to MD 2 by providing access to planting materials in collaboration with the ministry of food agriculture.

Bomarts Farms Limited was established in 1985 and later incorporated in 2001 to produce and sell pineapples as well as mangoes to the local and international market. The company, which is located at Drobo near Nsawam in the Eastern Region also, has a tissue culture laboratory.

It has a modern pack house with a pre-cooler which has a capacity of 60 pallets (50tons/12hours). Bomarts exports 50% of its MD 2 pineapple to the UK, 30% to Italy and 20% to Switzerland.

Story by Samuel Kuuku Coleman – dailyExpress