Improve agriculture to boost non-traditional exports

The Minister of Trade and Industry has announced that the country recorded a 17-percent increase in non-traditional export (NTE) earnings translating into about $3.30 billion of revenue in 2021.

The Ministry says the increase reflects a rebound of the country’s export sector from the effects of COVID-19, which disrupted the global supply chain in 2020.

It adds that the 2021 statistics give hope that the country is on course of improving its performance in the year-on-year earnings, looking at the recent records from 2018, which attained a growth of 10 percent over the previous year’s performance, a percentage growth retained by 2019.

Even the decline in NTE reported to have occurred in 2020 was not too much of a blow; it was just a dip in the previous year’s growth.

The 2019 earning was $2.899 billion, which dropped to $2.846 billion, showing a dip of 1.84 percent, according to the Ghana Export Promotions Authority (GEPA) records.

The available records show that the country has not done badly in NTE since it ventured into it in 1994, before which time it was into traditional product export.

The Import‐Export Act of 1995 (Act 503) defines

traditional exports as cocoa beans, logs and lumber, unprocessed gold and other minerals and electricity, with its Section 4 stating that: (1) For the purpose of this Act, traditional and non-traditional export goods shall constitute the goods specified in the Schedule to this Act; and (2) The Minister may by legislative instrument revise the categories of goods which constitute traditional and non-traditional exports, and may for the purpose amend the Schedule to this Act.

Thus, non‐traditional exports are defined by the Ghana Export Promotion Council as all products other than cocoa beans, logs and lumber, unprocessed gold, and other minerals and electricity.

These include horticultural products, fish and seafood, prepared food and beverages, handicrafts and other manufactured items.

Others are agricultural crops like pineapples (both dried and fresh), mangoes (also both dried and fresh), kola nuts, yams, cassava, bananas, plantain, citrus, coffee, as well as gari, wheat bran, cocoa shell, waste cocoa beans, sheanuts, textiles, ceramics, handicrafts, and charcoal.

The Ghanaian Times has taken the trouble to list all these product to prompt those who do not know it but can develop the interest in any one or more of these products to start thinking of what to do to take advantage of the available opportunities.

It is also meant to cause public discourse as to what has not been done and so must be done to improve the NTE sector, looking its benefits in terms of contribution to Gross

Domestic Product (GDP).

After all, Ghana is an agricultural country, which means it can leverage that strength to improve the NTE sector to even overtake traditional exports.

It is unfortunate that certain factors have combined to make the agriculture sector non-attractive to the youth, leaving old people and a few young people to practice agriculture in any form – farming, poultry and fishing.

The problems include lack of agricultural land as estate developers keep acquiring large portions.

The opulent lifestyle by the politician, which makes the youth think their destinies are hooked to political appointments or roles is another.

Also, lack of financial support to do large-scale farming and for export is a huge problem.

Lack of market and storage facilities, when there is bumper harvest is another problem.

It is about time these and other problems are fixed so that agricultural production can increase exponentially and in turn boost non-traditional exports.

The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) introduced by the Akufo-Addo administration, for instance, seems to be one area of motivation, but its full benefits are yet to show, looking at the ever-rising prices of food.

Show More
Back to top button