Calling the shots to remedy stifling growth of Ghana’s vegetable cultivation sector is Ghana Veg which has tasked itself with fashioning punitive measures to boost vegetable yields for foreign export and domestic consumption.
Amongst a cocktail of measures Associate Consultant, Joep Van Den Broek mentioned to improve vegetable growing standards, included are; the introduction of new irrigation methods, new fertilizer spray systems and building of trade missions both local and abroad.
The rest remain fund provision for vegetable farmers, and the issuing of the green label which seems not to have gained a stable stance.
This derived from first of five previous meetings, a vegetable fair which was held in Accra converging a number of vegetable farmers, extension officers, food security officers as well as exporters.
Senior Business Advisor, Mrs. Shiella Assibey Yeboah who spoke to the B&FT on the green label regime quizzed, ”how many vegetable farmers can pay an amount of GHC300.00 to get certified for the green label… yet from a series of tests conducted, fertilizer residues have been found on vegetables which are harmful for consumption.
“We are in talks with the Ministry of Farming and Agriculture [MOFA] to reduce the rate of green label certification so that it can be launched.
The event she said was centered on the commercial vegetable sector to improve systems to help get farmers produce quality and healthy vegetables so as to meet trade standards.
Also improving the commercial and business climate of vegetable growing farmers she said was dear to the heart of the advocacy.
According to owner of Joe Kopan, Juliana Opuni who was adjudged vegetable exporter for 2014, she said export quantities are growing gradually without rejections on the foreign market as compared to some years earlier.
“Some time ago our produce were rejected on the foreign market but now by the help of Ghana Veg, export quantities are increasing gradually.”
As part of the objectives designed for 2015, the advocacy which is being supported by the Netherlands Embassy is about to set up a professional nursery which will breed strong seedlings for transplantation as it targets Kumasi and Tamale as business platforms.
The advocacy is about to set up a Netherlands-Ghana trade mission planned for September which would ameliorate intermittent vegetable exports as well as to build partnerships to support Ghanaian vegetable farmers to boost yields.