The third edition of the International Coconut Festival has been held in Takoradi to create a platform for key actors in the coconut production value chain to interact and deliberate on sustainable means to grow and expand the sector.
The three-day event was jointly organized by the African Coconut Group (ACG), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC).
It was on the theme “Invest in Ghana’s Coconut Sector for an Inclusive Economic Transformation and Improved Climate and Social Resilience.
Many activities were held as part of the event including an exhibition session where those in the coconut production value chain displayed their coconut products and derivatives to their prospective clients.
Aside from the exhibition, participants also attended a policy symposium that brought together stakeholders, policymakers, investors, and experts to examine crucial enabling environments in reshaping the coconut industry’s competitiveness.
They also deliberated on how to invest in Ghana’s coconut sector to transform the economy through exports for increased foreign exchange.
He noted that the coconut sector contributed to the country’s economic growth, saying: that the Western Region produced approximately 80 per cent of Ghana’s total coconut exports, generating a minimum of $400 million annually in revenues.
He said: “I recall that the non-traditional export figures for last year highlighted the coconut sector’s substantial economic contribution. Notably, earnings from both fresh and processed coconuts reached US$6,3 million and US$6 million respectively.
“Ghana’s export of desiccated coconut also emerged as a standout performer. Exports in this category rose to US$21.9M in 2021, a significant increment from US$6.3M in 2020, and US$3.8M in 2019, positioning the country to 9th position in global coconut exports.”
This, Mr Darko-Mensah indicated that the Ghanaian coconut sector over the past few years had proven to be one of the key commodities that would transform Ghana’s export agenda and contribute significantly to the achievement of the national export development strategy, and non-traditional export revenue target of $25.3 billion in the next five years.
He, therefore, called on industry players to invest in the coconut sector to help reposition Ghana as a premier hub for coconuts globally.
Mr Acheampong said the project would address systemic challenges in the tree crop industry for an inclusive and sustainable economic transformation.
Dr Afua Asabea Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, said Ghana was currently ranked 12th in world production of coconut and the number one producer in Africa.
She indicated that the vision of GEPA’s coconut intervention programme since 2017 was to make Ghana at least fifth globally in the production and export of coconut products.
“It is in this light that we launched the coconut revitalization intervention six years ago with a clear objective of reviving the then ailing coconut industry to improve upon the supply capacity of the value chain having realized the growing demand trend for coconut globally,” she added.
Mr Davies Narh Korboe, Group Chair of ACG, said this year’s festival sought to boost investments into the coconut sector and scale up local partnership and business networks for sustainable economic gains while facilitating local and international market linkages within the coconut production value chain