The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA), Mr William A. Quaittoo, says the tree crop sector has the potential to increase the country’s export revenue to US$ 6 billion.
He said that was possible if the sector was improved and properly structured to meet growing demand through the adoption of best practices.
Mr Quaittoo explained that the sector had the potential to improve the country’s socio-economic development, hence the need for regulations to advance the sale and production of tree crops.
Speaking at a two-day technical workshop to draft regulations for the operations of the TCDA at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, the minister urged the participants to let their skills and expertise reflect in the two-day activities.
TCDA Act, 2019
The TCDA, a corporate entity, was established by an Act of Parliament under the TCDA Act, 2019 (Act1010) and is expected to regulate the production, processing and trading of tree crops in a sustainable environment.
The regulations are, therefore, required to guide the performance of its statutory functions.
The 60 participants comprised research scientists, academia, importers and exporters, processors, the legislature, financial institutions, agro processors, civil society and non-governmental organisations and formed the core of the Technical Committee established by the Crop Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
They were expected to conduct a comprehensive study of the TCDA Act and subsequently develop and draft proposals to guide the drafting of the regulations.
The proposals were to cover all the six tree crops, namely mango, cashew, rubber, coconut, shea nut and oil palm.
The programme was sponsored by Proforest, a financial consultancy firm, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) procured the services of a Technical Assistant Team to support the TCDA prepare the regulations.
Mr Quaittoo charged the lead facilitators and focus groups to critically study the Act and check whether any of the provisions warrant regulations, where the specific matter had not been referred to or was uncertain.
Contributing, an official of Proforest, Ms Afua Prempreh, said the regulations would deal with defaults and other incident issues that could be excluded from them.
She urged the experts to pay more attention to specifics and prescribe standards, processes and procedures for exports, maintenance and infringements needed for the development of a useful document.
The Deputy CEO of Operations of TCDA, Forster Boateng, said the tree crops sector, when well regulated and promoted, could overtake cocoa production and earn the country more foreign exchange.
He said the country was fast losing its forests and, therefore, urged the participants to adopt and develop the tree crops sector to serve as an alternative livelihood for the people.