Agency for Health and Food Security (AHEFS), a non-governmental organisation, has called on stakeholders in the agriculture sector to develop a policy for vegetable production.
It noted that the country has a well informed policy on agriculture which many countries have adopted and implemented with specific policies on cereals, vegetables, cocoa and fruits among others.
“Countries like South Africa and Kenya are able to make a significant impact in the European market because there are efficient, effective and systematic structures,” Mr Kwaku Asante, the project manager of AHEFS noted.
He made the call at a training programme for media on the need to invest in the vegetable sector since the nation had comparative advantage and should be able to export more vegetables to the global market.
Mr Asante said it was the non-existence of key agricultural infrastructure and non-application of innovations that made it impossible for farmers to supply the country and the rest of Africa with enough food.
“Vegetables can make an important contribution to food and nutritional security and enhance livelihood of marginal and smallholders due to their high farm gate values per unit land area, besides their economic, nutritional and medicinal importance, traditional African vegetables are considered valuable because of their ability to fit into year-round production systems,” he said.
Mr Asante said: “In Ghana, cultivation of vegetables is an excellent source of employment for both rural and urban dwellers as it takes place in many rural areas through truck farming and in the outskirts of towns and cities and backyard gardening to supply fresh produce to urban markets.
“It thus plays an important socio-economic role as well as in diversifying diets for improved nutrition since Ghana benefits from considerable foreign exchange through the export of vegetables such as okra and chillies to European countries including Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.”
He pointed out that agriculture accounts for about 60 per cent of export earnings and directly or indirectly supports 80 per cent of the total population.
In finding pragmatic solution to help address the menace, the project director urged the government to include the private sector in policy formulation to find systematic structures of investing in the vegetable sector.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY