Business News of 2014-07-15

Ghana must think beyond cocoa - Alan Kyerematen

The Former Minister of Trade under the Kufour administration has said the failure of the country to maximize its export is due to its inability to develop other traditional produce available to it.

Speaking at a forum organized by Graphic Business on how to maximize value of exports to improve Ghana’s trade balance, he said “the country has not been able to think beyond cocoa”. Cocoa is the most important agricultural commodity in Ghana and is the main stay of Ghana’s economy and serves as a source of employment for some 800,000 farmers and generates about 2-3 million dollars a year.

The commodity is the country’s fourth leading foreign exchange earner, worth about 30 percent of all revenue from export and responsible for 57 percent of overall agricultural export. However Mr. Kyerematen stressed that it was necessary for the country to identify new strategic pillars of growth that will diversify the country’s export instead of constantly depending on cocoa.

A conscious export decisions he says, must be made if the country desires to increase export earnings. He mentioned that the country must be able to add to its traditional exports- cocoa, gold- by developing and harnessing other products like oil palm, salt and starch.

According to him government should endeavor to develop and implement structured programmes of implementation which is aimed at achieving results. He said the competitiveness of a country on the export market could be developed through the expansion of infrastructure which will help boost farmers' production.

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