|Oil Palm Master Plan And Tree Crop Policy Launched In Accra|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 11:15|
The Government of Ghana’s vision for the development of Tree Crops is holistic and aims at promoting sustainable growth of the entire sub-sector, taking into account all the differences between the crops and the various production areas.
The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, who made this known at the launch of a 15-year Oil Palm Master Plan and a Tree Crop Policy for Ghana in Accra, yesterday, said the Tree Crop Policy had been developed with the objective of supporting increased production and productivity; promoting investment and increasing processing capacities; improving marketing; promoting sustainable practices for environmental protection; supporting research and development and improving co-ordination and management of the policy.
The policy, Mr Ahwoi said, was the first of a set of tools developed by the Government of Ghana to support the Tree Crops sub-sector which provides orientation and guidelines for strategic actions and clearly defines the vision, objectives and strategies to support the Tree Crops sub-sector.
He said although the Tree Crops sub-sector in Ghana consisted of several tree crops, the policy document had been developed with particular reference to oil palm, cocoa, coconut, mangoes, citrus, cashew, coffee, dawadawa, kola, rubber and shea nut.
On the Oil Palm Master Plan, Mr Ahwoi said there existed a huge export market opportunity for Ghana to take advantage of.
He said worldwide demand for palm oil including regional demand was also increasing, thereby offering the possibility of exporting oil palm from Ghana.
Furthermore, he said, favourable conditions existed in Ghana for the expansion of both large-scale and smallholder oil palm production and processing, that Ghana had a very competitive location for oil palm development, compared to its immediate neighbours and the top global producers, and that there was a great potential for value addition and downstream activities.
Mr Ahwoi said the growing demand for oil palm, its positive impact on employment generation and the availability of downstream capacity in Ghana all boded well for a substantial expansion of the industry.
He indicated, however, that government would continue to rely on Development Partners and financial institutions to provide the needed medium to long-term loans at concessionary and affordable terms to enable the industry to grow and develop over the next 15 years.
Mr Ahwoi, therefore, called on private financing institutions to consider participating in the industry as equity partners to ensure that the projects proposed would be successfully developed while pledging government’s resolve to explore additional tax incentives to support these developments.
Meanwhile, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Director of Crop Services have been directed to set up structures between now and June, next year, to implement the Master Plan and the Tree Crop Policy.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)