The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) on Tuesday appealed to District Assemblies to increase the country?s export commodities to widen the tax net and gain more foreign exchange earnings for the country.

Mr Stephen Kofi Normeshie, Director of Internal Audit of the GEPA, said the District Assemblies in the Northern Region had the potential to increase their export values when they sensitize farmers, traders and business entities in their localities on the need to increase production to target the export market.

Mr Normeshie was speaking in Tamale at a two-day sensitization workshop for District Assemblies and exporters on export marketing fundamentals to make exporters become more competitive in the international market.

He said GEPA was determined to facilitate the development of the shea industry, soya beans, exotic mangoes, yam, cashew, butter nut and groundnuts which, he said, could be used to reduce the teeming unemployment problems of the area and contribute to wealth creation.

Mr Normeshie said exports of non-traditional products in 2012 amounted to $2.364 billion representing a decrease of 2.43% in value over the previous year?s earnings of $2.423 billion.

He said from 2001 to 2008, non-traditional exports grew steadily at an annual rate of about 16.4% with the highest rate of about 30.4% occurring in 2007. In 2009 the sector was hit by the global economic melt-down which made earnings to fall by 9.38% from $1.340 billion in 2008 to US$1.215 billion in 2009.

In 2010 and 2011, he said the sector went up by 34.1% and 48.74% respectively to US$1.629 billion in 2010 and US$2.423 billion in 2011.

He mentioned the 10 leading agricultural products in Ghana as cashew nut, frozen or chilled tunas, shea nut, pineapple, banana, medicinal plants, fresh or chilled fish, yam, coffee and groundnut with a total earning of 253, 288,292 million dollars in 2012 and 273,376, 883 million in 2011.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority focuses on the diversification of Ghana?s export base from the traditional export products of unprocessed minerals, cocoa beans, timber logs and lumber to non-traditional exports.

Source: GNA

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