Kobbyna Acquah — A legal practitioner with expertise in industrial operations
Kobbyna Acquah — A legal practitioner with expertise in industrial operations
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Pineapple has potential, pay attention to crop - Legal practitioner entreats govt

A legal practitioner with expertise in industrial operations, Kobbyna Acquah, has called on the government to pay more attention to the pineapple sub-sector as the cash crop holds the potential to rake in large revenue.

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He said if the country were to be self-sufficient in pineapple production it could fetch the country over $300 million per annum through the export of the fruits, particularly in its processed form, to the international market.

“If Ghana can grow this industry like the Asian Tigers developed their automobile industry, it could lead in the emerging fruits and juices industries and a mix with other potentials like coconut water and coconut milk, and earn over $1.5 billion annually”.

“This will also help in creating sustainable jobs of over 800,000 in the value chain,” Mr Acquah said in an interview with the Daily Graphic. He said with the cocoa sector facing challenges with production diminishing at a fast rate, coconut, citrus and the general juice industry was likely to be the next game changer in the resolution of the country’s economic woes.

Import substitution

The country imports an average of $300 million fruits and juices a year. According to the estimation of horticultural producers, 20 per cent of the demand of fruits and juices can be met by local industries.

Therefore, strategic support to the industry would go a long way to support local farmers, boost capacity and competitiveness of local processing stakeholders, reduce trade deficit, and help currency stabilisation efforts, Mr Acquah stated in the interview which sought to understand how the local fruit production industry could help to raise foreign exchange for the country.

He added that the support could be the driver for economic transformation for the country if the numerous opportunities within that sector were given the needed credit support.

However, he advised that the sub-sector should be developed together with other horticultural produce such as citrus and passion fruits. “It's becoming clear that Ghana harnessing its natural exotic agricultural resources can create huge transformation for the economy,” Mr Acquah stated.

Using the local fruit processing company, Ekumfi Fruits & Juices Limited, the lawyer and agribusiness entrepreneur said products like Ekumfi juices, made from the country’s own natural pineapples, gingers, oranges and other fruits were creating huge sustainable income for local farmers and also serving as a new breathe of hope.

Currently, Ekumfi Fruits and another factory, Central Citrus, have a combined capacity to process 25 tonnes of fruits per hour. The Ekumfi Juice factory and its partner products, including natural juices, teas, natural low zero alcohol beer, and naturally infused drinks have continued to save the country close to $250 million annually through import substitution.

“The Ekumfi factory is said to have great export potential since there has been a great interest on the international market,” he said, and recounted how the company was recently rated a Pro-Seller just 200 days on Walmart.com.

“With such goodwill, the company has been given an option to sell in stores and a main supplier but the challenge is its ability to meet the huge demand coming from large retail entities with over 11,000 outlets,” Mr Acquah explained.

He said should the company be able to harness more locally produced raw materials to meet such a huge demand, it could be one of the most regenerative and sustainable incomes for farmers, youth employment as well as rake in huge foreign exchange returns to protect the Ghana Cedi.

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