The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in collaboration with International Potatoes Center and Blue Skies Ghana, have organised a fruit and vegetable fair at Koforidua Technical University on the theme; "Fruit and Vegetables, a Catalyst for Health and Economic Development."
The fruit and vegetable fair sought to allow local companies, farmers in the Municipal and District Assemblies to present their products to potential investors to expand their market locally and internationally.
Dr. Henry Blabone, the Deputy Director for Crop Services of MoFA, observed that fruits and vegetables were an important component in a healthy diet and the sufficient daily consumption prevents major diseases including cancers. He added that currently, consumption of different fruits was less than 100 grams per person a day with men and youth consuming far less compared to women and children.
He reiterated that the export of non-traditional agricultural products contributed to the economic growth and poverty reduction as well as the generation of foreign exchange and jobs for the youth of the country.
Dr. Blabone pointed out that the government, with its development partners -- GIZ, JICA, USAID, World Bank and African Development Bank -- had over the years initiated a number of interventions to address the problems which confront the fruits and vegetables industry, adding that, the government policies such as planting for food and jobs, planting for export and rural development and one district, one factory would contribute to the growth and development of the fruits and vegetable industry.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Eric Kwakye Darfour, on his part, indicated that the region was into the production, processing, consumption, marketing and exporting of both indigenous and foreign fruits and vegetables. He commended companies such as Blue Skies at Nsawam, Pinora at Asamankese, Bomart at Nsawam and other small to medium scale processing companies for adding value to the produce of farmers.
The minister also lauded Agro-Pack Farms Limited for practicing mechanised/high-tech farming and was hopeful that Ghana's dependence on Burkina Faso for onions, okra and pepper would end when the country became self-sufficient in food.
Mr. Henry Crenstil, the Eastern Regional Director of Agriculture was concerned about standards and urged farmers to produce quality fruits and vegetables that would meet international standards.