The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it is determined to add to the number of cash crops that provide foreign exchange for the country.
Cocoa and timber for decades have been the leading cash cow for the country in terms of foreign earnings but the ministry says it is determined to change the narrative with interventions and flagship programs like the Planting for Export and Development.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, delivering a speech at the official launching of Akuapem Gold Agro Processing Limited Plantation, out-grower program and construction of a factory at Akyem Nkroso in the Eastern Region, said his government will make coconut, oil palm, cashew, mango, rubber and coffee major cash crops for the country in 5 years time.
“Ghana has for a very long time focused on specific cash crop which has been cocoa, cocoa has carried this country for over 130 years ever since Tetteh Quashie brought it from Fernando Po and since then, several governments have tried to diversify away from cocoa and have not succeeded and we are still depending on a single cocoa which is given us a lot of foreign exchange”.
“This government is determined that it should not be the case and hence the planting for Export and Rural Development which is focusing on 6 main cash crops apart from cocoa itself so that in the next 5 years Oil Palm, Cashew, Mango, Rubber, Coffee, Coconut will provide us with enough foreign exchange as cocoa is giving us today. So instead of the 2 and half billion, we are getting from cocoa, we will be getting close to 20 billion for these other crops to boast and increase our foreign earnings”.
The Chief Executive of the Middle Belt Development Authority, Joe Danquah who also spoke at the program called on chiefs in the country to make lands available for development.
“I am pleading with Nananom to make lands available for the construction of factories and other projects, we are determined to bring development to every corner in the country and make this country an industrial hub so we are counting on you to give us the lands to enable us to bring development as we create jobs too for the youth and unemployed”.