The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) would next week lay before Parliament the Tree Crops Development Bill for deliberation and consequent passage into law to regulate the tree crop sub-sector.
The Bill is currently before Cabinet, and upon its passage, would establish the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) that would regulate and ensure the production, pricing and marketing of tree crops, including rubber, oil palm, cashew and sheanuts in the country.
The development of the tree crops value chain formed part of the Government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme, aimed at diversifying Ghana’s agriculture production sector and increase her foreign exchange earnings.
Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, speaking at a Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop on the Draft Regulation of the Tree Crops Development Authority, said government had allocated one billion Ghana cedis towards the establishment of the Authority in the 2019 Budget.
The vision behind the promulgation of the tree crops law, Mr Ntim said was aimed at providing standard and specification for the production of the selected crops, and to ensure adequate raw materials for the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative.
It is envisaged that the production of those crops would compete at an equal level with cocoa and capable to earn the nation about US$2.5 million annually.
The Deputy Minister said government, last year, supplied 9.3 million seedlings of the selected crops to farmers across the country to increase production, which is aimed at meeting the PERD agenda.
Mr Kwesi Korboe, a Member of the Technical Team of the Tree Crops Development Authority, explaining the key provisions of the Draft Bill, said there were five key areas in the bill, including the Purpose of the Regulation, Sustainable Funding Mechanism, Selection of the Governing Body and Registration of outgrowers.
Mr George Oduro, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, who chaired the meeting, in his closing remarks, commended the technical team for assembling experts in the tree crops sub-sector to make relevant inputs into the draft document.
He said it was prudent for the country to pay attention to other cash crops, aside cocoa, in order to spur the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The meeting brought together directors of agriculture, representatives of cashew buyers association, cashew traders and exporters, oil palm and rubber dealers, as well as officials from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Standards Authority and donor partners.
Some of the participants expressed the need for the establishment of a database for tree crop farmers, cooperatives, processors and exporters to channel resources towards increasing production of those commodities.