A deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Augustine Collins Ntim, says the government is committed to supporting the coffee sector to become profitable since it “holds a lot of promise”.
He is hopeful that once concrete steps are established and implemented to spur and commercialise the production of coffee, the sector will rake in more foreign exchange and Ghana would once again become the center of attraction on the world market.
Role of the District Assemblies
To this end, he said fourteen (14) District Assemblies have been identified and validated for the production of coffee under the government’s flagship Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) program, to ensure that rural communities benefit from this ambitious project.
Each of the districts, according to Mr. Ntim, has been tasked to support not less than 5,000 farmers to develop a minimum of four hectares of the six selected PERD trees, including coffee.
“Going forward, all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), are expected to move the nurseries to the community level to complete the decentralisation implementation program. Through this, the PERD program is expected to establish a minimum of 10,000 community nurseries countrywide”, he noted.
He added: “Key area to note is the effort the government is making to improve on the coffee production, value-addition, exporting of beans by providing avenues for local processing and promoting local coffee consumption, to increase the economic benefits of the coffee products”.
Mr. Ntim who is also the Member of Parliament for Offinso North constituency, made this observation while addressing the Ghana Coffee Business Forum on Wednesday, May 22, in Accra.
The event, the first of its kind in Ghana, was held alongside the 7th General Assembly and 5th Scientific Colloquium of the Agency of Coffee Robusta of Africa and Madagascar (ACRAM).
Mr. Ntim commenting further assured that the government’s aim of establishing the PERD program will be achieved.
He lauded the Coffee Federation of Ghana (CFG) for availing itself and forging ties with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and other key stakeholders to review the existing coffee regulations to make it more robust to drive the sector forward.
PERD, an ambitious program launched in Dunkwa-On-Offin on April 23, seeks to support Ghanaian export based crops such as coffee, cashew, oil palm, mango, shea and rubber to accelerate growth. It was rolled out by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The program is expected to boost Ghana’s efforts towards diversification, creating sources of revenue and developing the rural economy.
The PERD program is implemented on its tripod strategic pillars focusing on deficient on farm support, reliable business support and effective regulatory regime.
The on-farm support seeks to supply only certified planting materials of coffee, cashew, oil palm, rubber, shea, and mango and extension services to Ghanaian farmers at zero cost so as to enable them to expand their production efficiencies to produce good and quality materials to meet both domestic and industrial needs.
The second pillar seeks to develop strong business support through the new business linkages and open up the commodity value chains and increased private sector investments.
To consolidate the expected results of the above commitments, the third pillar focuses on strong regulatory regimes. A National Tree Crop Authority is expected to be established in this regard.