GEPA re-launches initiative to boost smooth cayenne pineapple production

Accra, The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has launched an initiative to boost the production of the smooth cayenne (SC) variety of pineapples to meet demand for the local and export market.

The SC variety which has been widely produced and exported in Ghana since the 1980’s, was abandoned by farmers as a result of varietal shift to an increasing high demand for the MD2 pineapple variety by importers in the EU in 2005.

As a result of this shift in market demand for MD2, Ghana has seen a decline in volume of exports with smallholder farmers who contributed between 35 � 50% of the export volume of pineapple before 2004 bearing the brunt.

Addressing stakeholders at Bomart Farms Nsawam, Ms Kekeli Klenam, Chief Executive of GEPA, said the project aimed to address weak supply chains to the processing firms and also to promote exports of air- freighted Smooth Cayenne pineapples into a niche market in EU.

She said GEPA has as part of the implementation of the National Export Strategy (NES) developed a comprehensive four-year work plan for the revitalization of the smooth cayenne variety of pineapple for both fresh and high value processed markets.

Among others, the initiative will introduce healthy Smooth Cayenne suckers to farmers out of which future multiplications would emanate at the enterprise level.

It is also to create jobs and increase incomes of the beneficiary farmers.

To drive the initiative, GEPA has budgeted an amount of 4.2 million Ghana Cedis to implement the activities of the project with the injection of over 15,000,000 (fifteen million) suckers of smooth cayenne pineapple varieties into the system.

It is estimated that the project will rake in an estimated $13.5 million over a period of four to five years.

This has the potential to increase amount of smooth cayenne suckers planted with projected planting cover of 120 Million field suckers which has the potential to generate 180,000 MT of fresh pineapples for both export and processing in year 1 to 2 after commencement of the project, she said.

The programme targets both processors and exporters as the recipients of the suckers for onward distribution to their out growers who have proven track records as reliable suppliers of fruits to these buyers.

To ensure the quality and control, GEPA will develop through a competitive process, a database of beneficiary exporters of fresh and high value pineapple processors who meet the selection criteria, Ms Klenam said

Potential beneficiaries for the programme must be a registered exporter of good standing with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, must be exporting either fresh or processed pineapple and be within the top 20 pineapple exporters in volume and value.

They must have staff strength of not less than 100 workers, with at least 50 per cent being women and have an annual turnover of not less than one million dollars.

To ensure true to type field planting materials, GEPA would advertise and request bids from farms with certification by PPRSD.

Other qualification criteria include Global Gap certification, PPRSD Certified nurseries Source of original suckers, Recommendation by buyers to attest to phenotype of produce, Capacity of supplier to multiply field suckers, Current stock and evidence

Performing the re-launch, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said it was important for the country to promote exports to be able to reduce the country’s Balance of Payment deficit.

He said government was whole-heartedly ready to support initiatives that would go a long way to boost the country’s processing capacity to be able to add value to its raw materials, adding that industrialization is the way to go.

Mr Anthony Botchway, CEO Bomart Farms, said the re-launch of the smooth cayenne was critical to the successful operations of processing companies.

Mr Eric Twum, Deputy CEO GEPA, said the Authority was now moving to the field in the execution of its mandate to support producers and exporters meet global standards and have access to the world market to increase earnings in the non-traditional exports.

Ghana’s pineapple is exported mainly as fresh, fresh cut and to a lesser extent juice and dry. Recent research data indicates that the juice export has fallen considerably due to strict export market requirements.

As the fresh cut increased in quantity and value from $ 32 million dollars in 2012 to $53 million dollars in 2016 that for the juice reduced from $13.1 million dollars to $ 232,462 in 2016.

Source: Ghana News Agency