The produce sector of Ghana's economy has seen a major transformation over the past few years, as a result of government's efforts to position the country as the preferred source of exotic fruits and vegetables.
Beside government's efforts, Ghana's favourable climate for the production of fruits and vegetables and its proximity to the European market gives it a logistical advantage for air and sea shipments.
The produce industry also benefited from the country's stable political and social environment, a capable and productive workforce and the availability of technical support.
Currently, the government and its partners are promoting the sector intensely, with significant investments in infrastructure, farmer training and research.
There are also innovations such as the modernisation of pack houses with state-of-the-art equipment and the construction of a new fruit terminal at Tema Port to produce shippers with 4,000 square meters of stacked pallets cold stores.
Today, the sector has been viewed as one of the fastest growing industry in the Ghanaian economy.
Ghana produces top-quality produce and it is eager to share its bounty with the rest of the world.
Pineapples have historically been the big performer of the produce sector, but other promising fruits include the Ghanaian mango and papaya.
Ghanaian companies such as Blue Skies, Tongu Fruits, First Catering Limited and Pinella have successfully penetrated the fresh cut fruit sector.
Vegetable exporters are also supplying the European supermarkets with vegetables such as chilies, okra, turia, dudhi and raviya.
Some of the players in the produce industry City and Business Guide spoke to were of the view that mango would be Ghana's next big entry to the Euopean Market.
Since year 2000, nursery programmes have enabled the creation of more than 3,000 hectares of mango orchards, mainly of the kent, Kiett and haden varieties.
The orchards are now bearing fruits, supplying not only the local market, but also producing significant volumes that can be shipped to Europe.
“With such delicious and diverse offerings, European consumers are sure to see Ghana as a major source of quality fresh produce,” Mr Joseph Roy, a mango exporter said.
The total volume of export from the produce sector between 1992 and 2004 rose from 9,800 metric tonnes.
In 2004, Ghana was the third largest exporter of pineapples to the European Union, commanding a 10 per cent share of that market.
Today, Ghanaian exporters regularly ship by air more than 7,000 tonnes of fresh chilies and Asian vegetables to Europe. Ghana also supplies fresh papaya, with shipments of 2000 tonnes annually.
Source: Daily Guide