Kumasi, Oct. 1, GNA - An official of the Ghana Exports Promotion Council (GEPC), has predicted that Ghana will in the medium to long term take control of 10 percent of world export of black pepper. Mr Erasmus Ashun, Zonal Officer in-charge of the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions of the GEPC, who made the prediction, said for such a feat to be achieved, the country would have to produce 22,000 tonnes of the black pepper from about 13,000 hectares of farmlands. Mr Ashun made the observation at the inauguration of the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Black Pepper Co-operative Growers Association in Kumasi on Friday.
The seven-member executive of the Association has Nana Abankwah Ababio 11, as the President.
Mr Ashun made it clear that should the country capture the 10 percent export market of the commodity, it was likely to earn about 45 million US dollars, which according to him would be more than one quarter of the total gained from other agricultural non-traditional exports.
On his part, Nana Abankwah Ababio, President of the Association, attributed the lukewarm attitude of the youth and the inability of farmers to enhance production, to the lack of guaranteed prices and organised market for farm produce.
He said until the government was bold enough to come out with a well-organized marketing system and guaranteed prices for the various agricultural commodities it would be difficult for farmers to expand their production levels.
Nana Abankwah Ababio appealed to the government to assist black pepper farmers with a processing machine to enable them to process and add value to the commodity, instead of exporting and marketing it in its current raw form.
Mr Rockson Akortsu, an Assistant Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) advised Executives of the Association not to merely take interest in occupying their position but should work hard to justify their ascendancy to the high office. He said this they could do by being accountable to their members and rendering genuine service to the Association instead of lording it over the members.