The Secretary for the Power Pineapple Growers Association at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region, Mr. Daniel Dogbey has expressed worry about the association’s current inability to export its produce.
Mr. Dogbey, a pineapple farmer with the group in an interview with Rite FM gave an insight into the prevailing challenges crippling pineapple production in the area.
The pineapple farmers are frustrated at unresolved challenges in the farming business which has seen production yields decline sharply, threatening new investments into the fragile business.
For many farmers, the greatest challenge facing the county’s pineapple sector is the inability of producers and exporters to increase production, mainly due to lack of financing for expansion as the production inputs and facilities require long-term and reasonably priced capital for investment by growers and exporters.
Mr. Dogbey who recounted the massive export opportunities which members of the association previously enjoyed said lack of credit facilities has deprived farmers of these opportunities in recent times.
“Formerly, with credit facilities such as loans from the Social Development Funds (SDF), the Power Pineapple Growers Association produced for export. Now however, the international market is not interested in the varieties we produce,” the secretary bemoaned.
Mr. Dogbey made the above assertions in an interview with host Captain Adabugar on Rite FM’s Morning Ride on Monday.
Non-availability of mechanized farming machinery such as tractors; difficulty in accessing subsidized fertilizers; lack of guaranteed market for the produce; lack of quality pineapple suckers; and weak extension services are some of the challenges pineapple farmers in other parts of the country say threaten to derail gains made in increasing the yields per acre of pineapple farms in the region.
Currently pineapple exports from Ghana are limited to about 33,600 metric tonnes per year even though the fruit is one of the leading non-traditional exports from Ghana.
The country accounted for about 10 percent of the international pineapple export in 2004, which has since shrank to three percent in 2014 with earnings also cut from US$24 million to US$19.2 million within the same period; a situation farmers argue is a consequence of the unattended challenges that have bedeviled the agric business for several decades.
Over the years, governments have responded to the challenges of the farmers by increasing subsidies to the agric sector including a free fertilizer and seedling programme, irrigation and mechanized system and other extension services to boost agricultural activities and yield, enticing more youth into farming.
However, administration and distribution network for the subsidy programmes have been hit and hit miss or largely misguided, discouraging many farmers from expanding their farms and scaring of many more others from going into agriculture.
Source: Prince Paul Amuzuemail@example.com