Ghana is expected to earn billions of dollars from some six identified tree crops in the next decade.
The six crops including oil palm, cashew, coconut, rubber, shea and mango have the potential to generate $2 billion each annually to compete with cocoa and coffee in foreign exchange earnings.
However, because sectors of these crops have not been regulated for years, the country has next to nothing to show for same.
Disclosing this in an interview with Joy Business at the opening of a two-day workshop on regulation for the sectors at Prampram, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), William Quaitoo said “Cocoa brings in about $2 billion annually and President Akufo-Addo has charged TCDA to develop the sectors to earn same if not more in 10 years due to huge demand on the international market”.
Through the workshop, TCDA with the support of its partners is taking technical proposal from actors who are experienced on the field to bring to fore what can be done to regulate the sectors.
The proposed regulation will go to cabinet and then sent to parliament before it becomes binding for all stakeholders within production of the six crops to follow.
This process is expected to be completed latest by December, 2021.
The regulations, according to him will provide key and fine details of TCDA Act 2019 (ACT 1010) which mandates the authority to regulate and develop the six tree crops.
By regulating these sectors, the country will avoid instances where produce or products are banned on the international market for one violation or another.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of TCDA in charge of Operations, Forster Boateng was particularly happy the authority is using an inclusive approach.
According to him, stakeholders put together for the workshop were from drawn from academia, private sector, civil society organizations among others.
About how TCDA would become an effective institution, he said the composition of its board and how useful lessons will be picked from other institutions will go a long way to help carry out its mandate.
“TCDA is expected to make huge impact as the private sector has about 25 members on the 29-member board which is first of its kind,” Mr. Boateng indicated.
Meanwhile, Proforest is providing technical assistance and funding for the workshop, having played a major role in the processes leading to the passage of TCDA Act.
Senior Project Manager at Proforest, Africa, Afua Serwah Prempeh said commodity production can help economies but it must be done sustainably.
“Even though commodity production can help economies, there are negative externalities that may come out of it including infringement on human right and environmental problems,” she said.
Proforest’s engagement with private sector and government ensures that outcomes of their actions do not have negative impact on others.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, IFC and other stakeholders are committed to helping Tree Crop Development Authority get the regulation and subsequent development done.