President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday launched the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), a module under Government’s strategic Planting for Food and Jobs programme geared towards the growth and development of agriculture in Ghana.
PERD is designed to focus on the development of selected export tree crops, namely cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, mango and rubber.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative at Dunkwa in the Upper Denkyira East district in the Central Region, President Akufo-Addo indicated that PERD presented Ghana with opportunities for diversification and new sources of revenue. The programme, he said, would enhance the foreign exchange earning capacity of the Ghanaian economy.
“PERD provides a historical opportunity for addressing the economic fundamentals by expanding the capacity to earn foreign exchange from agricultural exports, and generate much-needed jobs.”
The President re-stated his administration’s commitment to the development of the selected tree crops, saying government was taking the necessary steps towards the establishment of the relevant institution to regulate tree crop development in the country.
“A draft bill for the development of the tree crop sector will shortly be approved by Cabinet, prior to its submission to Parliament. The bill, when passed by Parliament, will establish the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA). The proposed Authority will provide policy direction and regulation for the development of the sector”, he said.
President Akufo-Addo discloses that aside the benefit of providing diversified sources of revenue, the PERD programme would link agriculture to industry through the provision of a solid raw material base for industrialization, develop rural economies and the structural transformation of the national economy.
“The selection of crops in each District depends upon the ecological zone. The initial effort in preparation of the PERD has met with resounding success with the establishment of nurseries all over the country,” he said.
A total of 32,591 hectares of tree crops are expected to be planted in 191 districts in the initial year of the programme.
The President stressed that with success of the various interventions government had made in the agricultural sector, the PERD initiative, combined with the other flagship programmes like “One Village One Dam”, “One District One Factory”, and “One District One Warehouse” policies, together, provide a historical opportunity for the complete transformation of agriculture and through that the transformation of the economy of Ghana.
Other institutional measures such as the Ghana Commodity Exchange, the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL), the Tree Crop Development Authority, and the refocusing of the mandate of the Agricultural Development Bank, are being rolled out to support the transformation agenda of this government.
The President was confident that all the initiatives being taken by his government would in time serve their purpose.
“The over-arching vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid is not mere rhetoric nor political gimmickry.
“As a government, we are determined through action to achieve this vision, and today’s programme is a clear indication of our genuine commitment. With God on our side, we shall surely succeed,” he said.