The Second International Coconut Festival, Ghana, was on Friday launched at Alabokazo in the Ellembele District of the Western Region.
Organised by African Coconut Group and Ghana Export Development Authority (GEPA) on the theme “Repositioning Ghana’s coconut sector for accelerated industrialization agenda”, it heralded the main event slated for Accra from September 20-23 and will feature trade and exhibitions, seminar and mentorship and youth in coconut value addition session.
In her address, Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, noted that, the vision to grow the coconut industry was gaining grounds with the potential to position Ghana as the destination for coconuts on the African continent.
She said the idea was launched in 2017 with a clear objective of reviving the commodity industry to improve the supply capacity of the value chain, having realised the growing demand chain for coconut, globally.
The coconut industries, Dr Asare said, was a multi-billion industry and that, countries such as Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand had invested heavily in the value chain and reaping the benefits.
Launching it, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, recalled the Central and Western regions in the past witnessed springing up of the several industries such as Wienco fibers.
He added that coconut was the only tree with every part utilised from the roots to the leaves and therefore, was very versatile, with potential yet to be fully exploited in Ghana.
“Also, due to its greatness, adaptability comparative to other crops, coconut can be cultivated in 11 out of the 16 regions of Ghana, under rain fed conditions. That is, with the exception of the five northern regions until the devastation of the coconut sector in the mid 80s? “Dr Akoto said.
He said, in the quest to control the Cape St Paul’s Wilt disease, which destroyed over 11,000 hectares of coconut in Ghana, the ministry developed coconut hybrids.
The Chairman of the African Coconut Group, David Korboe, explained that, the group was born out of the need to harness Ghana’s potential in the coconut sub sector to help government’s transformative agenda.
In partnership with GEPA and others, he said, a successful international coconut festival was organised in Accra in September 2019 and attracted many participants from North America, Canada, Asia, West Africa and industry players in Ghana.
The Western Regional Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who chaired the launch, believed that the next international coconut festival should be held in the region to showcase its potentials in coconut oil and fertiliser and activated carbons production.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, ALABOKAZO