Boost for cashew, oil palm value chains
THE Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has committed $10.5 million to the second phase of the Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme (GPSCP).
The programme, which implementation starts from February 1, this year until the end of 2027, aims to enhance trade competitiveness in the cashew and oil palm value chains, address the challenges faced by these sectors and drive sustainable growth.
It is jointly run by NIRAS and Proforest, with key government partners, including the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) and the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation & Rural Development (MLDGRD).
An amount of $1.5 million will go to the Government of Ghana for the official implementation, whilst the remaining amount goes to the private sector.
An estimated 3,000 groups and 30 companies in the country, which are processing palm oil and cashews respectively, are expected to benefit from the programme.
At the launch of the programme in Accra last Tuesday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K. T. Hammond, said the country was making progress in implementing a comprehensive and integrated programme for industrial transformation with initiatives such as the ‘1 District 1 Factory’ policy- to transform the structure of Ghana’s economy from dependency on the import and export of raw materials to one focused on manufacturing, value addition and export of processed goods.
He explained that there was a need for Ghana to be innovative and invest in research and development, particularly in industries such as oil palm and cashew that had demonstrated growth potential.
“I am, therefore, very delighted to join you in launching the Ghana Private Sector Competitive Programme Phase Two, with the overall goal of contributing to inclusive and sustainable growth through enhanced trade and competitiveness in the cashew and oil palm value chains.
“The programme will also improve linkages; thus, trade between farmers and processors for their mutual benefit,” he said.
For his part, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong, pledged his support to the programme and the policy objectives, stating: “I have confidence that it will help put the country on the path of sustainable development.”
The Team Leader of GPSCP II, Ato Simpson, explained that improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy, as well as the supply of a skilled workforce, was critical to making growth more inclusive and sustainable to create more and better job opportunities.
He said the labour-intensive sectors, such as agriculture and agri-food processing, offered significant potential for higher domestic value creation and more diversified exports to regional and global markets.
“Currently, we are processing under five per cent of cashew and most of the production is shipped out. If everything is shipped out, how could the local companies get access to materials to process.? That is not possible. So the TCDA Act, 2019 (Act 1010) passed will regulate the volume of shipment of this. It will ensure that all these difficulties are removed so that in Ghana, we can add value to our products to create jobs for people,” he said.
“The funding is available now, so we are challenging them to apply for support and work together to boost cashew processing beyond 20 per cent for them to access new markets globally and be able to export,” Mr Simpson added.