banana plantationThe European Union has extended support to the banana production in Ghana to enable it grow at a competitive pace to meet emerging challenges in the European Union (EU) market.

The assistance being extended to two main banana farms in the country would be implemented within 36 months to provide 300 housing units for banana workers at the cost of 7.2 million Euros.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper expressed the hope that the program which is in line with the Banana Adaptation Strategy will help the sector consolidate its competitiveness.

?It will further increase banana volumes to the EU and other markets, create jobs , maximize the sector?s contribution to national development goals, connect the poor to the growth being generated by this emerging sector with a view to effectively reduce poverty, especially on the banana operating zones,? the minister said.

Out of Ghana?s 65,000 metric tons of annual banana production, 50,000 metric tons is exported to the EU market, compared with the 5,000 metric tons that the EU market received from Ghana in 2005.

Ghana?s exotic banana production industry directly employs 2, 400 workers and indirectly benefits 40,000 people in the Volta Region alone.

However the accelerated pace of the EU?s Most Favorite Nation Tariff reduction in the latest period has affected the competitiveness of the sector as banana producers are now under intense pressure to increase productivity and reduce production costs.

The Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) in Ghana is therefore intended to support the industry to adjust at the fast pace required, so as to ensure that the industry will be ready on time to face the increasing competition and continue playing its social and economic role in Ghana, explained Claude Marten, Head of the EU delegation in Ghana.

He said the initiative was also expected to provide basic commodities and services such as water, electricity, health and education for the banana communities in order to improve upon the living conditions.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Haruna Idrissu was hopeful that the project would also go a long way to increase the value chain of the high quality and organic compost produced banana.



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