THE Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) has appealed to government to urgently support vegetable producers and exporters to take full advantage of the United Kingdom (UK) vegetable market which is worth over $10million.
The Association said it was aware that government had built several greenhouse facilities across the country and that it was significant for the government to engage the Federation on how to maximise the facilities and put them to better use to benefit the Ghanaian economy.
Vice-President of the FAGE, Dr Felix Kamassah, made the plea in an interview with the Business Finder following the acute shortage of vegetables in the United Kingdom as reported by Guardian Newspaper.
75 greenhouse domes in Dawhenya, 1000 to be built across all regions
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), a flagship policy initiative of the government has installed some 75 greenhouse domes at the Dawhenya irrigation site in the Greater Accra region.
The project formed part of the process of modernizing agriculture and to make agriculture attractive to the youth and graduates
It is the plan of the NEIP to build 1,000 greenhouses across the 16 regions of Ghana providing 10,000 direct jobs annually through the greenhouse project.
Efforts at exploiting UK vegetable shortages
Dr Kamassah said the Federation had been wondering what government was doing now to take advantage of the shortage in the vegetable market in Europe since “Ghana has a bilateral agreement with UK in exports.”
He said “production is key if we want to tap into the UK market, noting that normally, government and most entities forget about production and only talk about the exports.”
Dr Kamassah noted that government has to look at the agricultural sector with good funding, adding that sometimes “we talk about exports without the production but if we don’t look at the production sector, we cannot talk about exports. “If we cannot produce, what are exporting?” he asked.
The FAGE Vice President who is also the Managing Director of Maphlix Trust Ghana Limited added that when “ we are able to support the industry and support the federation with the needed support, the country could be able to help in raking in more foreign exchange.”
He indicated that as climate change is affecting Europe and reducing their vegetable production, it is eminent for Ghana to adopt smart agriculture towards advantage of the situation.
“We want government to get closer to the Federation since we have a roadmap to identify the key areas where they can have intervention to support the production before we look at the export,” Dr Kamassah appealed.
With the start of production for 2023, consultation, engagements were needed to make strong gains at the foreign fronts, Dr Kamassah noted, adding that, the agricultural sector is where everybody can be employed – both skilled and unskilled.
He said partnership with the Federation would help to opertaionalise the greenhouse facilities and make a meaningful use of them so that more people could be employed, increase production for internal market and export some of the commodities.