Government has committed about ¢50 million to embark on a program to grow and export coffee as a commercial crop, Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has said.
This was made known at the Ghana Coffee Conference in Accra which saw stakeholders within the coffee value chain deliberate on ways of making Ghana a leading producer of coffee in the world.
Speaking at the Ghana Coffee Conference in Accra, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government has pulled the needed resources to begin the large-scale cultivation of coffee under the ‘Planting for exports and rural development project.’
“We have to diversify into coffee cultivation and export. We have over depended on cocoa over the decades and this has to change. We [government] have committed ¢50 million into this project and we expect to be in business with coffee exports,” he said.
The maiden edition of the coffee conference has been described as very timely especially when Ghana is documented to be losing billions of dollars for not investing in this enterprise.
President of the Coffee Federation of Ghana, Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko expressed confidence in this project. He said global investors are already on standby to cash into this new coffee enterprise by the government.
He said, “There is a growing local market for coffee characterized by high demand. This situation leaves us with no option than to hop into production for both export and local consumption. It is sad to know that in the face of Ghana’s great potential to rank as one of the world’s leading producers, coffee’s share of Ghana’s GDP stood at a paltry 0.12 per cent in 2015.”
The commodity, apart from having the potential to rake in more revenue to shore up the $2billion that cocoa generates annually, according to experts, could also create more than 500,000 jobs in the Ghanaian economy.
Industry experts say the commodity, especially; the Robusta coffee is better adapted to slightly higher temperatures and is a better alternative to the country’s number one export commodity, cocoa.
Industry experts present at the occasion included; the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Chairman of the Global Coffee Platform, Mr. Carlos Brando and Chief Adams Tiapzi, former Chair, Fairtrade Africa.