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The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is targeting $2.6 billion in the non-traditional export (NTEs) earnings for 2015.

The target represents an increase of about 3.4 per cent above the $2.51 billion recorded in 2014.

Speaking at a news briefing to present the 2014 export performance report, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, the Chief Executive Officer GEPA, said attainment of the target calls for an aggressive implementation of the various project in the National Export Strategy.

There must also be an execution of activities and programmes lined up in collaboration with other key export stakeholders to ensure that the targets are met.

Government has set an ambitious target of $5 billion in NTEs by 2019 and it would cost $ 600 million to implement plans under the Export strategy.

Mr Quarcoo said the provision of adequate funding to the export sector and to key export trade facilitating agencies would enable the private sector to drive the anticipated increases in NTE revenue in 2015 and beyond.

Besides, the export trade, the Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund must intensify its expansion of credit facilities to exporters and export facilitating institutions to help them carry out their activities to help increase the earnings of the sector.

He said government must also work towards the realisation of good macro-economic conditions such as the stabilisation of the cedi to the dollar.

Mr Quarcoo appealed to stakeholders to pay attention to increased supply volumes and higher quality standards.

Meanwhile, NTEs fetched the country $2.51 billion last year compared to $2.43 billion in 2013 and this represents a 3.2 per cent increase over 2013.

The figure brings NTE contribution to 19.02 per cent of the country?s total exports of $13.21 billion.

Mr Quarcoo said total earnings of the NTEs were achieved on the back of three main sub-sectors; agriculture, processed and semi-processed products and handicrafts.

Processed and semi processed products accounted for 86.31 per cent of NTEs and contributed $2.16 billion in export earnings compared to $2.11 billion in 2013.

Earnings from the agricultural sub-sector amounted to $340.7 million compared to $323.7 million in 2013, an increase of 5.25 per cent.

The sub-sector contributed 13.55 per cent to total NTEs.

Export Earnings from handicrafts increased to $3.47 million from $2.46 million, representing an increase of 41.05 per cent.

Its contribution, however, is 0.14 per cent of total NTEs in 2014.

Mr Quarcoo said the main challenge hindering the growth of the handicraft sub-sector is a shift of major buyers from Ghanaian handicraft products to other sources of supply for new and modern designs with relatively better finishing and functionality.

Cocoa paste, articles of plastic, canned tuna, veneer, cocoa butter, sheanuts and plywood were among the 10 leading NTE products exported.

The European Union (EU) and ECOWAS remained the major destination of NTEs, accounting for 38.03 per cent and 30.22 per cent of the exports.

Other African countries, developed countries and emerging economies hold the remaining share.

The leading markets in the EU include the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, and Spain.

At the ECOWAS sub-region, the major destinations include Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo and Cote d?Ivoire.

While acknowledging the impressive growth in the NTE sector, Mr Quarcoo said there is the need for increased funding if the sector is to meet its projection of $5 billion in revenue by 2019.

On the outlook for 2015, Mr Quarcoo said efforts must be made to achieve higher levels of value addition through enhanced investments in agro-processing and other productive sectors.

There are more than 400 non-traditional export products categorised into agricultural, processed/semi-processed and handicrafts.

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