The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has reaffirmed its commitment to the growth and development of the coconut industry. The Authority also pledged to explore new markets for industry players.
Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, emphasized the industry’s significance during the opening ceremony of the 3rd International Coconut Festival in Takoradi, themed ‘Invest in Ghana’s coconut sector for inclusive climate and social resilience.’
According to Dr. Asare, the sector currently employs approximately 360,000 people, with 5.4 percent of the country’s population depending on coconut farming for their livelihoods.
By seeking out more opportunities, GEPA indicated its aim to boost production, create additional employment opportunities, and make a substantial contribution to the nation’s development.
Ghana currently holds the 12th position in global coconut production and is the leading producer in Africa, with its coconut products highly sought after on the international market. However, the CEO noted that there’s a vast untapped market, as Ghana exports only $11 million worth of coconut products annually, compared to a global demand estimated at $4.5 billion.
The three-day International Coconut Festival, which began on September 26, 2023, was organized by the African Coconut Group with support from the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), and SOLIDARIDAD.
The event served as a platform for various stakeholders in the coconut value chain from Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone to network and explore opportunities for economic growth.
Activities during the festival included trade exhibitions, seminars, mentorship sessions for young individuals and women in the coconut sector, as well as economic and technical negotiations.
The Western Region, which is responsible for approximately 80 percent of Ghana’s total coconut exports, was highlighted as a major producer and a key driver of the industry’s growth.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, urged industry players to invest in the coconut sector to establish Ghana as a premier global hub for coconut production and exports.
The Acting CEO of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), William Quaitoo, also pledged the Authority’s support in fostering value addition and modern farming techniques to boost productivity and attract substantial investments in the coconut industry.