Government is aiming at raking in some $18 billion annually from the exports of six crops to be developed under the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA).
This is according to the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
According to the Minister, government is seeking to make the exportation of the six crops – shea, cashew, coconut, oil palm, mango and rubber – under the supervision of the Authority, a major foreign exchange earner for the country just as cocoa does.
Currently, cocoa is the major export commodity of the country, with an annual income of about $2.5 billion, but the projection is that each of the six selected crops could earn the country as much as what cocoa is bringing in or even surpass it.
“The six crops can earn as much as cocoa is currently earning for Ghana, the target revenue from the crops by the next 8-10 years is achievable. Ghana should be earning as much as $16 billion – $18 billion dollars from the six crops in addition to cocoa,” he stated.
“Some may think it’s over ambitious but that is exactly what is happening in Cote d’Ivoire who produce 5 crops that earns them $15 to $18 billion, and we have better lands and water than they do. So if they are able to do it then we should also be able to do it, instead of going to borrow $2 billion or $3 billon Eurobond, that won’t help us,” he noted.
Adding the Tree Crop Development Authority with a 29-member board and inaugurated in 2020, is being set up and will soon commence full operations.
The TCDA, with headquarters in Kumasi, will spearhead the diversification of the Ghanaian agricultural sector, with a focus on the development of tree crops and the consequential benefits to accrue to the country.
It will start with six out of the seven tree crops being promoted by the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme — cashew, oil palm, shea, coconut, mango and rubber.
TCDA will operate along the lines of the Cocoa Marketing Board (COCOBOD) and put in place policies and programmes to guide research into, the production, pricing and marketing of tree crops.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who inaugurated the authority, described it as a game-changer.
He said the selected crops had the potential to change the economy of Ghana and overtake cocoa as its major cash crop.
He, therefore, charged the board to ensure that all the crops under the authority were promoted to ensure that Ghana derived their full potential.
“If the economic potential of the six selected tree crops is properly harnessed, Ghana could soon increase exponentially its agricultural export earnings,” he said.