The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says it has put key strategies in place to increase its market share on the export market.
The move is expected to attract more forex into the country which would shore up the central bank’s reserves and also improve the country’s balance of payment.
The strategy includes restructuring GEPA's policies to make its operations transparent, especially in the area of procurement.
It also includes improving GEPA's open-door and market orientation policies, as well as its international engagement.
So far, the new drive has helped to contribute to the growth of its operations for some time now.
GEPA is currently supporting non-traditional commodities such as cashew, pineapple, okra, mango, vegetable Shea butter, chilli pepper, yam and general agric produce for export.
Proceeds from the non-traditional export were around$2.53 billion over the last few years although the potential for massive increases in the numbers do exist.
Already, the GEPA has commenced the processes of formulating a 10-year National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) from 2019 to 2028 aimed at enhancing Ghana’s effective participation in the multilateral trading system.
It is also to enable the country to take maximum advantage of market opportunities in the short, medium and long terms.
In a nutshell, the strategies are in line with the government's decision to transform Ghana’s economy from a raw material exporting one to a high value-added industrialised economy through its industrial transformation agenda anchored on the 1D1F and other closely-related programmes.
GEPA has also outlined a number of programmes for this year and beyond to enhance trade with the rest of the world.
These activities include the development of one exportable product in all districts of Ghana to provide the required raw and semi-processed materials to feed the factories which are being set up in every district of the country.
Plans are also advanced to implement three important programmes: the Innovative Design Week which will identify, develop and showcase new designs from export-oriented companies to stress the importance of good packaging and labelling; the Innovative Mentorship Export Oriented Programme, which will be implemented with institutions such as the NBSSI and the Universities; and the Women in Export Road Shows which aims at empowering women entrepreneurs to grow their export businesses through strategic interventions in their companies.
The GEPA is also building strong competitiveness to improve the performance and growth of selected priority value chains and related services by stimulating their contribution to the industry, regional trade, exports and job creation.
The Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) hub, which was launched in Accra and Kumasi was to strengthen SME's competitiveness through the implementation of green business practices.
GEPA would also intensify its assistance to fish processors to improve the quality of processed fish for export.
This is to boost foreign exchange revenue for the country.
Currently, discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture to procure and distribute 3,000 “Ahotor Ovens” to fishmongers along the coastal Regions.
GEPA has developed a concept document to attract more youth, particularly tertiary school graduates into agriculture to boost employment and increase production for export. It is collaborating with the Youth Employment Agency for the execution of this project.
The Authority is also developing the architectural design for the establishment of GEPA Impact Hub. This is to provide a one-stop- shop facility to exporters to access trade information both online and physically with desks provided for key export facilitation agencies such as GSA, FDA, PPRSD etc within the Export Trade House building.
This year, the Authority is supporting Joekopan, a major vegetable exporter with refundable assistance of GHs157,000 to increased production through the construction of a dam for irrigation and also prepare for a visit of the government of The Netherlands, one of the main export destinations.
Additionally, through Srighan Farms, GEPA is supporting over 1,000 out-growers with an amount of GHs726, 000 to increase production to meet the increasing demands.
It is also supplying over 9 million smooth cayenne suckers to Ekumfi Fruits Factory, Ohu Farms, Golden Riverside, Myroc Farms, Lovely farms, Premier Foods and Vegetable etc.
The Authority has supported the Yam Development Council with about GHs 350, 000 for the development and training on production of an improved Yam Seed at Dabala in the Volta Region.
About 250,000 improved seedlings have been developed and supplied to farmers for this planting season.
To improve the export base of the country, the GEPA has supported over 250 clients with export advisory services on various products cashew, pineapple, okra, Mango, vegetable Shea butter, chili pepper, yam and general Agric produce.
Last year, about 50 products of 20 Ghanaian companies were assisted to receive approval for duty-free and quota-free access to the West Africa market under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).
It also assisted about 42 companies to obtain ETLS with the view to increasing access to the ECOWAS market.
The GEPA embarked on a regional sensitization in all the national borders to educate GIFF on the need to ensure accurate capture of Export Data. This is to track exports and the expected right amount of Forex inflows.
In 2018, over 5.3 million smooth cayenne pineapple suckers produced and distributed to the 17 out grower farmer groups of Bomart Farms, HPW Limited, Ekumfi Fruits and Juice etc. Also, 220,000 grafted cashew seedlings developed at10 nurseries under the National Cashew Development Initiative with Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG).
From October to November last year, based on the finding of the pilot, cashew plantations in all 31 cashew districts -- which was about 30,000 acres of plantation -- were sprayed which is expected to translate into a higher yield this season.
The GEPA is undertaking a number of project in handicraft sector such as the completion of common-use shed and provision of equipment to the Abompe Beads Producers Association, build and furnish 3 Model Innovation, Design & Incubation Centres in Aburi, Kpetoe and Bolgatanga. Processing the Rehabilitation and completion of Abrafo Craft Centre in conjunction with CEDECOM and remodelling of the Aburi-craft village to a modern fairgrounds for international exhibitions in Arts and Crafts.
In the area of service and manufacturing, last year, the GEPA contacted 230 1D1F companies to assess and help them with their Export readiness. It worked with UNIDO consultant to deliver the Market Hub, the award-winning importers and exporters market place, which profiled about 120 Ghanaian Companies on to the market Hub.
It is important to note that GEPA’s CEO has been appointed as a member of the International Trade Centre (ITC) Advisory board of Trade and Investment Support Institution (TISI).
The Authority has won the right to host the World Trade Promotion Organisation (WTPO) Conference in 2020 at the last WTPO Conference 2018 in Paris. It also won the WPTO 2018 Awards for Best Use of Information Technology at the WTPO Conference 2018 in Paris.
It won the right to host ITC Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) Hub. The Hub will consolidate T4SD’s tools and services by acting as a one-stop shop offering integrated sustainability solutions for SMEs.
The T4SD Hub will offer the needed technical assistance for SMEs to build the understanding and capacity to implement green business practices through its services focusing on the key aspects such as sustainability standards, climate resilience and resource efficiency.