wpid-ghanacedis.jpgGovernment has earmarked some GH?20 million for the development of irrigation facilities in seven locations in four regions to boost the production of export crops to enable Ghana to maximize earnings from the non-traditional export sector.

It is expected that the support would lead to the significant development and expansion of the non-traditional export sector to enhance Ghana?s target of harnessing some five billion dollars from exports by the end of 2017.

Ghana currently accrues about 2.3 billion dollars from non-traditional exports.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Harunah Idddrisu when answering a question posed by the MP for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, enquiring steps taken by the ministry to support the growth of pineapple business and other non-traditional export crops in Ghana.

Mr Iddrisu said government had recognized the high prospects of Ghana?s agro-based economy for increased export, and that seven out of the nine priority products sectors had been identified for support in the national export strategy.

These included cropped based product sectors such as fruit including pineapples, vegetables, cashew, shea, yam among others.

According to him, 23 products had been lined up for implementation, with the thrust of governments policy, being the provision of support for the expansion of the production and supply base of the priority products, as well as the development of export markets for them.

Mr Idrdrisu said GH?12 million had been allotted for the acquisition of farming inputs and working capital for 12 selected members of the Sea Freight Pineapple Exporters Association in the Nsawam-Bawjiase enclave.

He said they were to enable them expand production in 2014 and to diversify into the production of other short gestation high value crops such as the pricey Galia Melons.

He said that government had recommended that the EDAIF support four pineapple out-grower producer groups by the first quarter of this year to enable them to increase the supply of raw fruits to off-takers such as exporters and fruit processors.

The Minister said that EDAIF had also supported the development of mango plantations in the three northern regions, the northern parts of Brong Ahafo and Volta regions, resulting in the establishment of 6,500 acres of mangoes by the end of 2013, with an expected expansion in 2014.

He said that under a stimulus package, additional funding support would be provided in 2014 to 5,000 small holder cashew farmers and processors in Wenchi, Techiman and Bole to enable them to expand the cultivation and processing of the crop for export.

Additionally, farmers in the three northern regions would be provided with two million sheanut seedlings to cultivate alongside their annual crops to ensure sustainable development of the crop that is currently being harvested from the wild. GNA


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