Coconut – potential income generation
• Coconut is nutritious and has many benefits
Ghana is endowed with numerous resources that can be fully utilised to generate more revenue to improve the welfare of the people and also carry out a number of development projects.
The country can boast of food items like pineapples, tomatoes, oranges and coconut among others. All these items can be exported to other countries to raise money to meet the economic challenges of the country.
At this time when economic conditions all over the world are not favourable, the time has come for countries that are endowed with a variety of resources, whether food or non-food crops, to look within and focus on full utilisation of these to make it possible for them to carry out the needed economic agenda. Some countries do not have any resources for exploitation to meet their economic needs.
In the case of Ghana, however, resources abound everywhere particularly in the agricultural sector and all these can be fully utilised for the good of the country. Flagship programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs as well as Planting for Exports and Rural Development introduced by the government are good and ought to be rigidly implemented to address certain problems in the country.
Apart from exporting them to generate more revenue, they can be processed to meet the food needs of Ghanaians.
In addition, they will provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths if these are implemented to the letter in an attractive manner. If well organised in line with the vision of the government as well as supported by the people in this country, the sky will be the limit as far as domestic output and output for exports are concerned.
Furthermore, proceeds from these items can be used to finance development programmes in the rural sectors of the economy. When this happens, development will be spread to all parts of the country irrespective of whether they are rural or urban. It will also mean that rural-urban drift which influences social life in the country will be aborted. Such a development will be positive for the country and that is why non-traditional exports need to be encouraged and enhanced in this country.
One crop which can be fully utilised in this manner is coconut. Coconut has been with this country for years but the full potential for export has not been exploited.
A few weeks ago, some chiefs and people in the Western Region voiced out a fact that as a country, we need to pay attention to developing and promoting the export of coconut because of its great potential as income earner for the nation. If this is carried out well, it will generate more revenue than other crops known in the country.
A careful study and analysis on this situation shows that paying attention to the coconut tree can stimulate expansion in income earned from this crop. If this is the case, then the time has come for us to develop this industry and prepare it for both local consumption and export.
Coconut is nutritious and has many benefits that can accrue to the nation. What this means is that we all have a national assignment as far as coconut is concerned to be carried out in the interest of everyone and for the common good of Ghanaians.
Coconut is a precious commodity that is also valuable the production of which has to be encouraged as much as possible. At this time when the country needs to generate more revenue, one area we can look at is the export of a non-traditional export like coconut. Apart from generating income for the local people, it will also be able to bring in more developmental projects for the country.
Ghana’s exports of Desiccated Coconut to the world recorded a significant jump of 249 per cent in value in 2021 compared to the previous year. According to the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA), exports stood at $21.985 million in 2021 compared to $6.3 million in 2020 and $3.8 million in 2019. This ranked the nation 9th in global exports of Desiccated Coconut.
This trend shows that coconut has the potential of being ranked a significant export earner for the country. Seeing it in this way, we need to pay serious attention to this product and encourage its production and export.
The GEPA in line with its mandate is doing wonderfully well in the area of promoting many non-traditional exports to generate substantial income for the country. The Authority must therefore be commended for a good work done since this is what the country needs as far as expansion and diversification of income generation is concerned.
From 2017 to 2021, growth in export earnings from Desiccated Coconut exported by Ghana averaged 45 per cent. This is an indication that coconut is one potential crop that should not be toyed with by this country.
COVID-19 as well as the Russian-Ukraine war have created economic problems for the world but this is the time for all countries particularly those in Africa to put their forces together and restrategize in the diversification of revenue for themselves.
In the case of Ghana, the potential of the coconut as a game changer in revenue has been uncovered so we need to press the button of growth and expansion as far as coconut export is concerned.
We are, therefore, appealing to the youth of this country to look at going into coconut production for export because ultimately, they will never be disappointed as far as substantial income generation is concerned. In addition, they will be self employed, commanding great respect in society and also generate substantial income for this country.
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By Dr. Kofi Amposah-Bediako