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Business News Wed, 30 Aug 2006

GEPC to assist district assemblies to prepare export action plans

Boamadumase (Ash), Aug 30, GNA - The Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) will soon start a programme to provide technical assistance to district assemblies to prepare district export plans. Mr. Adjei Yeboah, the Zonal Manager of the Council in Kumasi, who disclosed this at a Black Pepper forum at Boamadumase in the Ejisu-Juaben district on Tuesday, said it was aimed at helping the districts to tap and develop the rich export potentials in the various areas of Ashanti.

He said due to the rapid globalisation, new forms of business alliances and communications developments were reshaping the international trade landscape, thus making the export efforts more and more challenging.

Mr Yeboah said to enable producers to compete, there was the need for them to measure levels of competitiveness and correct weaknesses inherent in production and processing systems. "This requires market information and ability to forecast demand and creativity in adapting products and finding suitable markets", he said.

The Zonal Manager indicated that Ghana has the potentials in terms of favourable climatic conditions, rich in soil and vegetation to support and produce much bigger volumes of black pepper for export. To this end, Mr Yeboah said the GEPC would be looking for appropriate technology and machinery for processing for domestic market on trial basis in the short term until, "We are able to produce the required volumes for international markets".

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Nana Abankwa Ababio, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Black Pepper Co-operative Growers' Association, appealed to the GEPC, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the district assemblies to support the efforts of black pepper growers so that they expand their farms and benefit from their sweat.

He said due to lack of processing machines for their produce and marketing, most farmers have lost hope in its cultivation and were cutting down the trees to cultivate other crops.

Nana Abankwa, who is also the chief of Boamadumase, called on the government to ensure that part of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was used to purchase processing machines for the various black pepper co-operative associations.

Source: GNA
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