The Head of Corporate Affairs, Unilever Ghana, Mr. Gabriel Opoku-Asare, has described the palm oil sub-sector as the next “gold” sector for the country if all key stakeholders collaborate to grow the sub-sector to meet the increasing global demand for sustainable palm oil.
Speaking at the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 Palm Oil Initiative Ghana Country Workshop held at the Best Western Hotel in Accra, he said the palm oil sector currently employs over 300,000 people in Ghana and must be given the needed attention to exploit its full potential to make sustainable palm oil production the norm and not the exception.
The workshop was organised by the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Africa Palm Oil.
In attendance were the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, officials from Ministry of Trade and Industry, Traditional Leaders, Civil Society, Academia, Financial Institutions, Leading Palm Oil production companies and Consumer Goods companies.
The objective of the workshop was to identify the challenges that affect sustainable oil palm production while developing practical principles which will guide sustainable production and expansion of oil palm in Ghana.
As most consumer goods companies and agribusinesses are looking to expand their operations in Africa, there is a huge demand for sustainable palm oil production. Mr. Opoku-Asare said, the oil palm sub-sector could easily be developed into a key foreign exchange earner and job creator to improve the livelihoods of millions of Ghanaians.
“Even though Ghana is one of the leading palm oil producing countries – second in Africa and eight in the world, Ghana is still a net importer of Palm Oil. Ghana’s current deficit of 50,000 tonnes in supply could hit over 100,000 tonnes in the near future. This trend can be reversed and Ghana can become a net exporter of palm oil,” he said.