Graphic Business News

New VEPEAG administration takes office: Commits to develop vegetable sub-sector

By: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Felix Kamassah (left) with other members of the new VEPEAG administration

The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) has elected its new executives who will be stirring the affairs of the association for the next four years.

The new executives include, Mr Kamassah as the President, Mr Kuma-Korante Darkwa as the Vice President, Madam Christine Esinam Atange as the Secretary, and Mr Samuel Gyan as the Treasurer.

The association also elected other members which included Madam Jayne Anaman, Mr Ebenezer Inkum and Mr Kofi Debrah who will be helping the new executives to carry out their mandate for the four-year period.  

The new executives were elected at the 25th annual general meeting (AGM) of the association which was held on February 27, in Accra.

In his speech, Mr Kamassah encouraged the members of the association to support the newly elected officers with new ideas to steer the affairs of the association in order achieve its vision.

He urged members of the association to focus on farming as a lucrative business to help alleviate a number of people out of poverty.

Industry growth

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on Sunday, March 1, Mr Kamassah expressed the resolve of the association to help fast-track the economic development of the country with a special focus on the vegetable sub-sector.

As a result, he said the association would soon engage the government towards the development of a conducive environment for vegetable farmers and exporters in the country.

That, he said was crucial to help meet the projected $1 billion earnings from vegetable exports in seven years by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Mr Kamassah indicated that the association would collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to help prevent the periodic export ban the country suffer from the international markets.

State of the industry

Of the registered 100 vegetable exporters in the country, he said only five exporters were currently in active business due to the period ban of vegetable export into the international market.

This, he said was a situation that would threaten the achievement of the $1 billion target of the Presidency.

Data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) even showed a negative export fluctuations in the sector.

From US$1.75 million in 2009, foreign exchange derived from vegetable exports rose to US$4.35 million in 2011, before declining to US$608,304 in 2016.

However, the industry, which yielded approximately US$831,751 in 2017 export earnings, dropped to US$669,208 in 2018.

Solution for the industry

For this reason, Mr Kamassah said his administration would build the capacity of its members to understand the protocols of the international markets in order to reduce the period ban and also meet the $1 billion target within the stipulated period.

"We want to build the capacity of our members in order to understand the protocols of the international markets as a means to reduce the period ban or suspension into those markets," he said.

He said the administration would embark on periodic education to encourage Ghanaians to consume more vegetables to create market and jobs for the local farmers.

This, he said would enable local industry to scale-up production and make the country self-sufficient of the produce.

"We will also educate the entire country on the importance of the consumption of local vegetables to encourage farmers to produce more for the market," he said.