GHANA-The Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) distributed 11.3 million suckers to pineapple exporters and out-growers to promote the quality and quantity of pineapples exported from the country

They gave out different variety of suckers i.e. MD2, Smooth cayenne and Sugar loaf supplied based on applications that were made by the various companies and farmers reports GNA.

Food processing company such as Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited, Able Farms and Lovely Farms were among the companies who received the suckers as they engage in value addition of the crop.

“At GEPA, we encourage more of the processing of our materials before they go out as that is where the value comes from, so we are happy to be doing this at the grounds of Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited, where much of the pineapples will be processed.” Said Mr Samuel Dentu, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEPA.

The Deputy CEO said although the pineapples would be processed before exports, there are other customers in the world market who want the raw pineapples, adding that “We expect that with this project, we are going to increase the numbers that we would export as far pineapple is concerned.”

This exercise by GEPA is part of the One-District-One-Factory project started in 2017 with the aim of encouraging exports of both the processed and non-processed fruits.

A recent GEPA 2018 Report on export performance indicated that pineapple export values were going down which was a worrying trend to the Authority leading them to do more towards promoting exports of value-added products from Ghana.

According to the Authority they have so far given out a total of 20.2million suckers of pineapple to 12 exporters and more than 100 out growers and they are planning to continue with the distribution when more suckers will be ready.

Mr Frederick Kobbyna Aquaah, the Director of Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited commended GEPA for the project, saying the lifeline of what was done at the factory was dependent on pineapple suckers.

The Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Company Limited is the first fruit processing factory to be established under One-District-One-Factory project. It has the capacity to process 10 tons of fruits per hour.

As per the company’s five-year strategy vision, it is cultivating more than 4,000 acres of pineapples in many communities in Ekumfi district as well as in the neighboring districts that would in total, produce 80 million fruits per annum for the processing line.

It has also projected 600 acres per year, in preparing to switch gear to the next phase of cultivation that would see the expansion of its raw material base up to the projected 4,000 acres needed to feed the factory at full capacity.