GHANA – The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) and the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX) have joined forces to boost production and supply of quality fruits and vegetables for both local and export market.
Under the partnership, the two entities have unveiled the Ghana Vegetables (GhanaVeg), an action plan set to revolutionise the fruits and vegetables industry in the country by promoting safe fruit and vegetable production, good postharvest handling and distribution, and the use of good and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
Launched under the theme, ‘Towards a Competitive and Innovative High-value Fruit and Vegetable sector,’ is aimed to enable the sector to take advantage of the existing bullish vegetable export market in Europe and other regions.
The main EU Member States continue to import more and more fruit and vegetables from non-EU countries.
According to Eurostat data, in the first half of 2021 alone, Community imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from third countries amounted to 11.4 million tons and 11,785 million euro, i.e. 3% more volume and 2% more value than in the same period of 2020 and reflecting an 18% growth in volume and a 23% increase in value over the last five years.
Despite Ghana having ratified trade deals with the different member states in Europe, it has not fully exploited the opportunity presented due to low productivity and other challenges.
Commenting on the milestone, President of VEPEAG, Dr Felix Mawuli Kamassah, noted, “There have been attempts to consolidate the efforts and strategies of the VEPEAG and GAVEX to present a formidable front to pursue reforms that will benefit the producers and exporters of fresh vegetables.
“We are happy to announce the crystallisation of our efforts into the formation of Ghana Vegetables, a blueprint that will spur the growth of the fruits and vegetables industry in Ghana while taking advantage of existing export market opportunities.”
Dr Kamassah lauded work done by Hortifresh West Africa in laying the platform for the birth of the new Ghana Vegetables project.
Hortifresh is a programme supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
It replaced the GhanaVeg programme that was implemented from 2013 to 2017 with the aim of developing a competitive and sustainable vegetable sector in Ghana.
For his part, the President of GAVEX, Mr Collins Mawuli Hodey, said, “This partnership with VEPEAG will broaden our reach and ability to support new initiatives for the fruits and vegetable sector. Ghana Vegetable will introduce measures to ensure vegetable farmers and exporters are better off.”