An immediate intervention by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture could avert the total collapse of the citrus industry in Ghana.
This is the concern of stakeholders in the industry who gathered at Mankranso in Ashanti Region for a workshop on the constraints in citrus production and marketing.
Considering that most of producers are small-scale farmers who lack the capacity financially to solve the problems facing the industry and the urgency of solution to the pests and disease, especially the Angular Leaf Spot disease, the following have been recommended:
MINISTRY OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
• To earmark a budget that will support the citrus industry as it is done with cocoa;
• Consider the citrus among priority crops so as to get funds from the ministry and donors as well;
• Help citrus producers access credit facilities;
• Strengthen the capacity of Extension Staff to handle such situations; training in citrus related courses;
• To make resources available for research into citrus production and marketing.
• The following constraints were identified in the citrus industry; lack of disease-free planting material, incidence of insect pest and diseases, lack of access to international markets and inadequate processing facilities, poor harvesting and post-harvest handling practices.
• The sub-committee of food and agriculture should regularly visit farmers so as to have first-hand information about the real problems faced by citrus producers and other stakeholders;
• To encourage the MOFA to mainstream the citrus industry policies
• To work closely with Extension, research in clean seeds/seedlings, good practices and other technologies to improve their production and therefore their income.
• To come together and form strong farmer associations in all districts where citrus is produced in Ghana.
• To consider citrus as business and prepare to invest in it.
• Should interact constantly with farmers and involve them in citrus research from planning to implementation;
• To assist in the creation of innovation platform involving all stakeholders in the citrus value chain.
• To provide clean planting materials and resistant and high yield varieties;
• To conduct studies showing the profitability of the commodity, the competitiveness of citrus production in Ghana and the potential of Ghana in citrus production.
FARA, CABI AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
• To assist in the creation of the innovation platforms that will help to improve the citrus industry;
• To advocate for more external funding.