The Coconut Federation of Ghana says it will take advantage of the various government initiatives to boost the export of the fruit.
The projected global growth in the coconut industry is pegged at US$15 billion by 2024.
The Federation said through the National Tree Crop Development Authority (NTCDA), it would help accelerate Ghana’s position for a significant share of the global coconut industry by creating more jobs and business and livelihood opportunities along the Ghanaian coconut value chain.
Mr Patrick Ndabiah, the National President of the Federation, speaking at a press briefing, commended Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the unprecedented advancement and commitment to develop the Ghanaian Coconut Industry.
He also commended Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture and Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development for the effective collaboration towards the implementation of the Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme and the establishment of Authority.
The Birth of the NTCDA seeks to formalise the tree crop value-chain, develop and institutionalise effective regulatory schemes, mainly driven by the Ghanaian private sector and it is expected to also develop and regulate production, processing, marketing and export of Coconut, Oil Palm, Cashew, Mango, Rubber and Shea.
He said the contribution of the coconut industry to the development of many economies had proven to be an indispensable tool towards many poverty reduction efforts.
The National President said the utilisation and alternative uses of coconut had received the highest acceptance and recognition all over the world and every part of the commodity had become a key support for many businesses, ranging from automobile, food, cosmetic and to the agri-tourism industries alongside other household consumables.
“Coconut agribusiness has finally become the main livelihood support for many people especially the Ghanaian farmers,” he added.
Mr Ndabiah said the Ghanaian coconut industry had struggled to gain recognition of policy and decision makers over the years, in the wake of high incidence of large coconut farms wiped off by the Cape Saint Paul’s Wilt (CSPW) disease, weak marketing and pricing regimes, poor access to farm inputs especially CSPW resistant planting materials.
He said the coconut actors in Ghana were left to their fate struggling through their activities with no support system thereby becoming vulnerable to other patrons of coconut produce, products and its derivatives.
“Many farmers abandoned their farms, others diversified from coconut and coconut dependent businesses struggled to break even,” he added.
He said with the strong collaboration between the Federation and other key stakeholders, the coconut industry would become the fastest growing industry to achieve the US$2billion annual target within the shortest possible time.
The National President said it had come at a good time and brought a sigh of great relieve when the authority was established to address the major bottlenecks and constraints along the Ghanaian coconut value chain.
He said they would continue to engage with government on how to supply farmers with highly improve and disease resistant seedlings to boost production, because the current diseases affecting the seedlings would not help in actualizing their dreams.
He called on government to build the capacity of the value-chain actors in the coconut industry and provide production funding and certifications for farmers to enable them compete globally.
Meanwhile, the Federation inaugurated its National Executives as Mr Patrick Ndabiah- National President, Mr Ahmed Saaka- First Vice (Operations), Mr Kwaku Boateng- Second Vice(Administration), Ms Karen Beecham- Third Vice (Finance), Mr Kojo Nunoo- Fourth Vice (Welfare), Mr Ofori Ampofo Acquaye- General Secretary and Mr Douglas Quartey- Deputy General Secretary.
The rest are Mr Delali Ahiafor- Financial Secretary, Mr Eric Opoku Agyei- Organising Secretary, Mr Wilson Delali Agyemang and John Nanabanyin as Communications Secretaries and Ms Sena Ampawu-Bri as General Treasurer.