The 2,473 million dollar Perishable Cargo Centre (PCC) at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) built under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was on Wednesday handed over to the Government.
It is part of post harvest interventions provided under the Ghana compact to strengthen export of agricultural and horticultural produce by ensuring better produce quality and higher export market prices.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, said the facility would help the Ministry achieve its target of increasing non-traditional exports within the next five years.
She said with the facility, farmers could meet quality requirements of the advanced market and their products would reach other markets on time.
Ms Tetteh urged Ghanaians to use the knowledge and skills acquired from working on the project to the benefit of the country.
Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said competition among exporters, especially fresh food produce had become very intense and the only way to stay ahead of the competition was to minimise transaction costs while ensuring high quality standards for the produce.
"The PCC as well as other cold storage facilities, pack houses and on-farm pack houses, constructed under the Compact would help Ghana to achieve this goal," he added.
Mr Ahwoi said Ghana had learned an invaluable lesson from the MCA, to adopt an integrated approach towards development, where things were not done in isolation but in a coherent manner.
“This is a lesson that we will take into future developments as Ghana embarks on the road to becoming a middle income economy,” he stated.
He said despite the fact that Ghana had become an oil producing country, agriculture still remained a major contributor to her GDP as it employed majority of people.
Mr Ahwoi thanked implementers of the compact and added that Ghana was looking forward with keen expectation to a second compact.
“There is no way we will let the taxpayers of America down, we will use Compact Two to advance the lives of our people,” he said.
Mr Daniel Yohannes, Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), said the programme, in order to help develop Ghana’s economy, had adopted an integrated approach by investing in commercial agricultural techniques including irrigation, and post-harvest infrastructure.
This, he said, would enable Ghanaian exporters of fruits and vegetables maintain their quality and freshness and be able to compete with others on the export market.
He challenged Ghanaians to maintain the facility in good condition and use it judiciously.
“I challenge you to keep this place up and running” he said and commended Ghana for the successful completion of her compact.
Mrs Doreen Owusu-Fianko, Managing Director of GACL, said construction of PCC would help boost the airport’s freight throughput for perishables and added that GACL’s new model for airports development countrywide would include perishable cargo centres as part of the integrated development of airport cities.
She thanked MiDA and the Government and people of the United States for the facility and appealed to them to consider including "The City or Township of KIA’ in the implementation of the second compact under the MCA which was expected to focus on the energy sector, as the ‘city’ would need about six megawatts power supply.
The 1,200 metre square facility will provide handling and temporary storage for perishable produce (fruits and vegetables) for export and it has a 200 metre square cold room, shaded packing area of 350 metre square and work room of 600 metre square.
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