President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) with a mandate of focusing on the development of tree crops and the consequential benefits which can accrue to Ghana.
Inaugurating the Authority on Tuesday 29 September 2020 at the Golden Bean Hotel in Kumasi, President Akufo-Addo explained that his government’s strategy is to promote the development of tree crops other than cocoa but with equal or even higher economic potential.
“The Tree Crop Development Authority, which is the legal and institutional outcome of PERD [Planting for Export and Rural Development], will lead the agenda for the diversification of Ghana’s agriculture by developing the tree crop sector,” the president said.
He continued, “To kick-start the implementation of PERD, seven tree crops, namely mango, cashew, shea, rubber, coconut, oil palm and coffee, have been identified and selected for promotion under the programme, six of which are directly under the supervision of the Authority.
“I am hopeful that, sooner than later, coffee will also be brought under the direct supervision of the Authority.”
From headquarters in Kumasi, the Authority will operate like the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), putting in place policies and programmes to guide research, production, pricing and marketing of the six pioneer tree crops.
President Akufo-Addo told guests that if the economic potential of the six selected crops is harnessed properly, Ghana could soon increase her agricultural export earnings exponentially.
So far, 220,257 farmers have enrolled on the PERD programme and 235,850 hectares of land have been cultivated, with a total of 30 million seedlings of the various crops produced, to be distributed to farmers and interested individuals.
“At full implementation, the PERD programme will link agriculture to industry through the provision of a solid raw material base for industrialisation, develop our rural economies, and assist in the structural transformation of the national economy. All these will propel growth, create employment, particularly for the youth, and the creation of wealth,” the president said.
The 29-member board of directors of the Authority is chaired by Stephen Sekyere-Abankwa, with a highly proactive management team consisting of William Quaittoo, the chief executive officer of the TCDA, and two deputies – Yaw Osei Oteng, in charge of finance and administration, and Foster Boateng, in charge of operations.
President Akufo-Addo assured members of the Authority of the systematic efforts being made by the government to secure funding for upgrading the affiliate research institutions to assist in effective development of the new tree crops.
He expressed confidence that, in the fullness of time, the government’s approach will be wholly vindicated when all the initiatives are implemented vigorously.
“The overarching vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid is neither rhetoric nor gimmickry,” President Akufo-Addo said. “We are determined, through action, to achieve this vision, and today’s programme is a clear indication of our total commitment. With God on our side, we shall surely succeed,” he said.