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Export Authority finds new markets for smallholder farmers

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Gideon Quarcoo — CEO, GEPAThe Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is in search of new markets for the country’s agricultural produce as part of measures aimed at raising revenues from the non-traditional export (NTE) sector.

The authority is doing that by assisting exporters of such products, especially the smallholder farmers, to acquire the Global Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) certificate that makes it possible for companies to export their produce to any part of the world.

The initiative is part of measures by GEPA, the NTE promotion arm of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), aimed at diversifying the country’s export portfolio and markets to help rake in more foreign exchange.

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The Director of Product Division (DPD) at the authority, Mr Peter Obeng, disclosed to the Daily Graphic in an interview yesterday (Friday, October 4).

The Global GAP is a set of standards that exporters of agriculture and related produce are required to obtain before their goods can be accepted into any country worldwide.

About 50 commercial and big exporters in the sector in the country already have the certificate.

That makes it possible for such exporters to send their products to any part of the world, provided they have identified buyers there.

However, the high cost of acquiring the certificate, which is over US$2,000 per company, means that smallholder farmers and companies would be deterred from applying for it.

But that slows down the country’s revenue earnings from NTEs while limiting the growing potential of such companies, GEPA’s Director of Product Development Division admitted in the interview.

“The idea now is to assist those companies to get the certificate so that they, together with the big exporters, can export more produce into the foreign markets,” he said.

He explained that the authority was doing that by encouraging the small exporters to form associations through which they could easily access the certificate.

The authority earned about US$2.36 billion from exports in 2012 and is now aiming at raking in about US$3.3 from the sector in 2013.

Data from the authority already showed that export earnings for the first half of the year grew by 12 per cent over the same period last year, a development GEPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, said made the 2013 target achievable.

By Maxwell Adombila Akalaari/Daily Graphic/Ghana