EU Ambassador to Ghana William Hanna will today [Thursday] visit banana plantations in the Eastern region to inspect EU support to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural export industry.
He will meet with producers and inaugurate the new Composting Facility at the Volta River Estate Ltd (VREL).
The composting facility supports VREL in growing organic and fair trade bananas, which fetch higher prices on the European market.
The European Union supports the Ghanaian banana exporting companies Golden Estate Ltd (GEL) and Volta River Estate Ltd (VREL) with a grant of €7.2 million which will be used for organic composting at VREL and the construction of 224 houses for banana workers at GEL.
The composting facility will use plant material from the Volta River to produce organic fertilizer for the banana plantation of VREL.
Prior to his visit Ambassador Hanna said: “There is huge demand for Ghana’s agricultural exports in the European market. Our consumers are happy to pay more for high value exports that can be certified as organic and/ or fair trade. We have been supporting the banana industry of Ghana for many years. Indeed I first visited this estate in 1999. Our Banana Assistance Measures have provided aid to improve the position of Ghana banana growers on the European market. Today we see the results of this long term investment. For this investment to make sense agricultural exports from Ghana need continued tariff and duty free access to the EU market’.
He added that ‘the trade preferences we give to Ghana are essential to protect exports and jobs. That is why I welcome the recent signature of the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU, and its approval on 3 August by the Parliament. This bilateral agreement is a stepping stone, paving the way towards the wider regional EPA. We will continue to work together, using both trade and investment to encourage sustainable development in Ghana, not only in the banana industry, but in other sectors where Ghana has a real competitive edge. We will now be stepping up our assistance to help Ghana take advantage of the new opportunities which will arise’.
Source:Delegation of the European Union to Ghana