The Authority gave various types of pineapple suckers such as MD2, Smooth cayene, and Sugar loaf to more than seven exporters and farmers in the country including; the Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited AlbeFarms and Lovely Farms among others.
Mr Samuel Dentu, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEPA said the suckers were supplied based on applications that were made by the various companies adding that the 11.3 million suckers were those that were ready at the moment.
He said going forward, more would be given to other farmers.
He said the Authority, was much interested in raising the value of exports from all non-traditional export products and pineapple was one.
He said a recent GEPA 2018 Report launched on export performance realised that pineapple export values were going down and that it was worrying to the Authority.
Mr Dentu said the 2018 GEPA Report provided the Authority with an opportunity to do more towards promoting exports of more value added products from Ghana.
He said the exercise was part of a project started in 2017 with the aim of encouraging exports in terms of the values of exports realised from pineapples – both the processed and non-processed.
He said: “At GEPA, we encourage more of the processing of our materials before they go out as that is where the value comes from, so we are happy to be doing this at the grounds of Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited, where much of the pineapples will be processed.”
The Deputy CEO said although the pineapples would be processed before exports, there are other customers out there in the world market who want the raw pineapples, adding that “We expect that with this project, we are going to increase the numbers that we would export as far pineapple is concerned”.
Mr Dentu said the pineapple suckers were supplied based on applications that were made by the various companies adding that going forward, when more suckers were ready, the Authority would give to more farmers.
He said the Authority had so far given out a total of 20.2 million suckers of pineapple to 12 exporters and more than 100 outgrowers.
He urged farmers and the exporters to ensure that the right things were done to ensure the better growth of the pineapple towards achieving the objectives for giving the suckers out.
Mr Frederick Kobbyna Aquaah, the Director of Ekumfi at the Fruits and Juices Limited commended GEPA for the project, saying the lifeline of what was done at the factory was pineapple suckers.
He said the capacity of the Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited was high and that the factory needed 1,600 acres of which they would want to do more.
He said more support was needed in the form of pineapple suckers to produce more towards feeding the factory as it prepares to commence full scale operations latest by the end of this year.
The GEPA team led by Madam Afua Asabea Asare, the Chief Executive Officer toured the Ekumfi Fruits and Juice Factory to familiarise themselves with operations and suggested ways of making the company more relevant both locally and internationally.