Commercial Coconut Production Thrown Lifeline

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has offered GHS600, 000 to the Coconut Producers and Exporters Association (COPEA) to enable large scale coconut production for both domestic and international markets.

The initiative, dubbed, Coconut Export Revitalization Project, according to GEPA, will begin from the Central Region with 60,000 wilt resistant hybrid seedlings, and extend to other coconut farming communities in the country.

Launching the project at Gomoa Odumasi in the Agona East District in the Central Region, GEPA’s CEO, Gifty Kekeli Klenam, observed that the venture offers prospects for value addition to coconuts for both local and external markets with opportunities for business and employment creation.

“GEPA is pursuing this vision diligently and have, as per our mandate, provided support to a number of agricultural value chains; pineapple, cashew, and now coconut. We are delighted to support this sector by starting with members of COPEA, based in the Central Region with seedlings worth GHS 600,000, for 1000 acres,” she stated.

She noted that the projected global demand for coconut and its by-products, estimated at US$2.8 billion by the year 2021, gives positive indication of how necessary GEPA’s intervention will be.

“This tells us that this strategic investment will yield multiple effects for this initial support. We’ll over the next year extend and expand this programme to cover farmers in the Western Region, replicating the model of symbiotic partnership where the exporters offer technology transfer and market access to the smallholders,” Madam Klenam explained.

She, however, bemoaned the collapse of a number of firms over the years, set up to process coconut into desiccated, peat and coir for exports as a result of attacks of the Cape St. Paul Wilt Disease (CSPWD).

“Whilst our able researchers have developed new varieties resistant to the CSPWD, the key producer base, the smallholder farmers, have not been able to source these new varieties due to lack of resources. It is such hybrid seedlings and resources we are offering to start this project,” she announced.

COPEA’s President, Mr. Ofori Ampofo Acquaye, noted that the gesture and the initiative, would go a long way to boost commercial coconut production in the region.

He assured GEPA that each member of COPEA would benefit significantly from the seedlings and other resources to enable them produce in commercial quantities, particularly for exports.