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Tree Crops Development Authority needs urgent attention to survive -CEO

In July this year, the Tree Crops Development Authority launched a 5-year Strategy and Implementation Plan. The Plan seeks to establish an investment framework to guide the mobilisation of both public and private investments toward the development of a competitive and sustainable tree crops industry.

Although the Plan will be fully fledged from 2023, the Authority laments the snail paced activities in the sector, which could affect the plan.

According to its Chief Executive Officer, William Qauittoo, inadequate funds have limited their abilities to achieve set targets.

“When we started, we were very enthusiastic because as a new authority has been given the mandate to regulate and develop, at a very fast rate, the regulation and development of six tree crops. We thought that we would have the needed resources to as it were begin to rake in the target that was given to us,” he said.

He explained that the target was to work hard such between eight and 10 years to rake in same gains as cocoa.

“I would say we are struggling to make the needed resources to begin the activities that we have put down and wanting the resources to execute”, he said.

The Tree Crops Development Authority was established by an Act of Parliament, as a regulatory structure for six tree crops: Cashew, Shea, Mango, Coconut, rubber, and oil palm in Ghana.

The Authority set a target of $100 million to achieve the 5-year Strategy and Implementation Plan. Although the plan seeks to garner funds for all 6 crops, Mr. Quaittoo revealed that donors are selective of the crops to invest in.

“Some of the crops I would say, are more promising than others. The developed world is more interested in some of the crops than others but if this money is coming from the government then of course , we will apply equally. At the moment, we are working on a project that is going to look at cashew, rubber and coconut,” he added.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto pledged to give the authority $5 million annually, however, Mr. Quaittoo disclosed that the first tranche was not up to a million cedis.

“It has been very difficult for government, and we have pushed, this year, I would say we have had only two releases that is even less than one million Ghana cedis and basically, that takes care of office expenditure and other things”.

Notwithstanding, the Tree Crops Development Authority is optimistic that the 5-year Strategy and Implementation Plan will be achieved by the set time in 2027.

“I still have that hope. We did our five year to start from 2023 and end at 2027 because even though we were launching the five year development plan in 2022, we still knew that maybe getting funding from the government and getting the full complement of the authority structure will start from 2023, so our five year development plan though written and launched, its commencement is actually from 2023 and by the end of 2027, we will realize the budget that we have stated in the development plan,” he said.

Source: Ghana News

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