|Ghana’s Banana Exports To E. U. Market To Increase -Trade Minister|
|Friday, 29 June 2012 16:04|
The county’s banana expects to the European Union (EU) market will increase significantly in the coming years, Minister of Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh has announced.
She explained that the EU had removed the quota and tariff imposed on the country banana exports to the EU market, after Ghana initialed the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEP) and explained that had attracted more investments into the banana industry.
The country’s banana production and export has increased tremendously due to the huge foreign direct investment the sector had received.
Currently, Ghana exports over 50,000 metric tonnes of banana annually to the EU, which is a jump from the 4000 metric tonnes the country was exporting about six years ago.
Speaking to journalists during a meeting with the chiefs and elders of Kusunya and Asutsuare after a tour to the Golden Exotics Limited at Kusunya, near Asutsuare in the Dangme West District on Wednesday, she said the EU had also lifted the tariffs imposed on banana exported from Ghana to EU.
Golden Exotics Limited a 100 per cent subsidiary of Compagnie Fruitiere Group was established in 2003 as a Free Zone company to produce banana and pineapples for the EU market.
Ms Tetteh said the removal of the quota and tariff from Ghana’s banana export to the EU held a good prospect to the country to increase her banana exports to the EU market.
But, she said, the challenge now is how to address the production challenge facing Golden Exotics Limited and other banana producers to be able to produce as less cost for them to become competitive on the EU market.
Ms Tetteh said Latin America, a major producer of banana to the EU market and this could pose a big challenge to produces from Ghana. Thus, the minister said, the government was relying on the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) to source for funds to provide accommodation for the staff of Golden Exotics Limited to address the huge transportation cost to the company.
Volta River Estates, another player in the industry, which focuses on the production of organic banana, would be assisted to establish a compost plant. Under the BAM, the EU is providing over six million Euros to address the production challenges facing banana producers in the country.
Ms Tetteh commended Golden Exotics Limited for the role the company was playing to improve the Ghanaian economy, saying not only was the company helping to increase the country’s banana exports, but was also providing employment to a lot of people.
The Vice President of Compagnie Fruitiere Group, the mother company of Golden Exotics Limited, Pierre Arnaud, said the company had so far invested over $40 million Euros on the farm.
“We intend to increase our investment on the farm to increase our production out-put next year,” he stressed.The production Manager of Golden Exotics Limited, Jean-Marie Tchonang, told the Times that the company currently had over 1200 hectares of banana and was producing over 55,000 metric tonnes annually. The company, he said, intends to increase its production to 65,000 metric tonnes next year.
Mr. Tchonang said Golden Exotics Limited produced 95 per cent of the country’s banana exports, saying the remaining five per cent was exported to the West African market such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Claude Maerten, said the trust of the EU trade and economic partnership with Ghana was to improve the lives of the citizen.
He also said a lot of consumers in the EU wanted to eat fresh banana produced from Ghana and the country stood at a competitive edge to increase her production to meet the demand on the EU market.