By Julius K. Satsi, GNA
Accra, Jan. 31, GNA - Government through the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has introduced a number of intervention programmes to sustain the Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory (EPPF) among other sensitive industries.
In an interview with Eric Amoako Twum, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEPA on Wednesday, he said the Authority has provided five million pineapple suckers to feed the EPPF as part of an effort to sustain the operations of the factory.
He said government, through the intervention has enabled the factory to create 4,000 direct jobs and additionally employ more than 5,000 out growers from Agona, Gomoa, Ekumfi and other adjoining districts to be suppliers to the EPPF.
Mr Amoako Twum said the Authority has contracted Billy Farms, a local company to supply the smooth cayenne pineapple suckers needed to the 5,000 smallholder farmers, who would in turn supply the EPPF for processing.
He said the government provided GHC 4 million as the total cost for the production of suckers to feed the factory to ensure its sustainability.
He said other existing fruit processing factories in the country could be supplied with some of the pineapples if excess was witnessed as a result of the various interventions being made.
Touching on the cashew nut industry, Mr Amoako Twum said the GEPA as an institution with the mandate to develop and promote Ghana’s export trade, has undertaken interventions to grow the export sector.
He said the Authority supported cashew farmers with GHC 1.6 million to help them procure seedlings, herbicides, insecticides and other farming needs for the mass production of cashew nuts in the country.
He said the President would be launching the Cashew Development Plan to ensure that a sustainable production road-map towards positioning the crop as an agriculture goldmine for the country.
The Plan, Mr Amoako Twum said would resolve issues of infrastructure and other needed government support for cashew as well as outline measures to promote its production, sales and processing.
He said more than 75,000 farmers in the country are engaged in the production of cashew cultivation, most of them situated in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Ashanti and Volta Regions.
Another intervention to induce growth in the export industry, he said, had been the support provided to the garments and textile sector to establish an association to help them achieve their objective of contributing to the growth of the economy.
He said the garment sector was considered as the second largest employment sector in the country after agriculture, with the capacity to create jobs for both the educated and the less educated youth and women.
On smallholder farmers’ export, he said the Authority has introduced a packaging standardisation to ensure that branding and packaging did not throw smaller producers out of business.
He said the modalities for the standardisation package was underway and once it was ready, the Authority would make it known to the stakeholders.