President Nana Akufo-Addo says the newly inaugurated Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme will enhance the foreign exchange earning capacity of the Ghanaian economy.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “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.”
With the programme designed to focus on the development of selected export tree crops, namely cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, mango and rubber, the President added that PERD presents Ghana with opportunities for diversification and new sources of revenue.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, April 23, when he launched the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), a module under Government’s strategic programme for the growth and development of agriculture, “Planting for Food and Jobs.”
Reiterating the commitment of his government to the development of the selected tree crops, the President stated that government is 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.
Aside from the benefit of providing diversified sources of revenue, President Akufo-Addo stated that PERD will link agriculture to industry through the provision of a solid raw material base for industrialisation, 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. In the initial years of the programme, a total of 32,591 hectares will be planted with the tree crops in 191 districts,” he said.
The President continued, “Some seedlings have been displayed at this event today. The enthusiasm with which the District Chief Executives have embraced the PERD is very commendable, and the intense interest clearly indicates that leadership of the programme at the local level is assured.”
With Government having revamped agriculture, he stressed that PERD 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, in the fullness of time, when all these initiatives are serving their purpose, government’s approach will surely be vindicated.
“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,” President Akufo-Addo added.