The country’s share of the International Pineapple Export Market has declined sharply from 10 percent in 2004 to 3 percent in 2014, the Ghana Business Development Review report 2018 has revealed.

According to the report published by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), gains from pineapple export hit US$25 million in 2004 but decreased to US$17.5 million in 2014.

“Ghana had a 10 percent share of the international pineapple export market in 2004, but as at 2014, ten years on, the share had declined to 3 percent. Pineapple export was generating US$25million in 2004 but had fallen to US$17.5million by 2014 – a shortfall of US$7.5million,” the report states.

Out of 51 exporters in 2004, only seven were left in the business by 2014, the report reveals.

Another report by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) — an institution charged with the promotion of non-traditional exports — confirms the country’s dwindling fortunes in the pineapple sector.

On average, states the report, the exports declined by 30 percent per year between 2012 and 2016. This is reflected by exports to all large European markets, where Ghanaian growth performance lags behind the general trend.

The UGBS report attributes the situation to some challenges the agriculture sector has long been facing: including changes in climatic conditions, land acquisition problems, escalating prices of fuel, and shortages of fertiliser and agriculture inputs.

“Climatic conditions affect the sector seriously because Ghana chiefly relies on rainfed agriculture. The recent changes in rainfall patterns are gradually ruining the fortunes of businesses in this sector…setting up irrigation systems is capital intensive.

“Escalating prices of fuel, fertiliser and agricultural inputs are other major challenges faced by agribusinesses. These are factors that cannot be controlled by agribusinesses themselves,” it stated.

“The proliferation of real estate companies and the upspringing of new buildings are depleting peri-urban farming lands. This phenomenon has also increased the cost of land in these areas as well as in the rural areas.

“The issue of post-harvest losses is another challenge to farmers. Farmers do not have the skills to preserve their produce and these services are not being offered on demand,” the report adds.

Action by government to increase exports

Government, through GEPA, has introduced some intervention programmes to improve pineapple yield and exports in the country.

As part of this, GEPA has earmarked GH¢4.2million to implement development of smooth cayenne variety pineapples into a niche market for the European Union.

The funding will go into addressing supply chain challenges and promoting the export of air-freighted smooth cayenne pineapples to the European Union, with the aim of realising some US$13.5million in estimated earnings over a period of four to five years.

Furthermore, to address the irrigation problem, government seeks to use the ‘One Village, One Dam’ initiative to build a total of 192 small dams and dugouts in 64 districts to aid cultivation of food crops, including pineapples.
Out of these, 50 dams are to be constructed by the end of 2018.

Credit: B&FT online

(by Obed Atta-Yeboah)