Coconuts have become one of the world’s most popular superfoods. It’s been said that coconut water will generate a revenue of $4 billion between 2015 and the end of 2019. The demand for coconuts has been increasing by 10% each year on a global scale. The demand is so high that current producers can’t keep up. In Ghana, coconuts are often associated with the young men we see on the roadside selling them. There is so much more that can be done with coconuts and we’ve failed to truly capitalise on the market potential of this crop.
That’s why the launch of Ghana’s first International Coconut Festival comes at the right time. It also has international support in a partnership with the Canada Coconut Festival and Superfoods Expo. Having this type of support helps Ghana to leverage potential partnerships and build new relationships in the coconut industry. This puts the spotlight on Ghana and its potential in the global market for coconuts.
On 18th June 2019, the maiden festival was launched at La Palm Royal Hotel. Attendees from various sectors of agriculture, business, politics, media and those with a special interest in the sector were in attendance. The event is endorsed by Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’ initiative under the Ghana Tourism Authority and as such, members of the team were also present at the event. Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the Year of Return Secretariat spoke on behalf of Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, who was unable to attend the launch.
Notable people who were present included, Hon. Eric Kwakye Daffour, MP Nkawkaw, Eastern Region and Chairman for the African Coconut Group, Hon. William Quaittoo, MP Akim Oda Constituency, Eastern Region, and Board Chairman of National Food Buffer Stock Company, Hon. Collins Augustine Ntim, MP Offinso North Constituency, Ashanti Region, Deputy Local Government Minister in Charge of Rural Economy and Agriculture, Hon. George Oduro, MP for New Edubease Constituency and Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ashanti Region, Efua Asare, CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), and Executives of Exim Bank.
Coconuts are an untapped resource in Ghana and the festival puts attention on this crop as a new driver of Ghana’s agricultural economy. Hon. Eric Kwakye Daffour, MP Nkawkaw, Eastern Region spoke about the demand and said that we need to look at other crops instead of just Cocoa. “We have relied on cocoa for far too long in Ghana. When there are crops like cashews and coconuts that could become strong economic drives in agriculture.” He went on to say that we need to consider diversification in agriculture, so we don’t over-rely on cocoa. “All money can be found in the bush.” he declared after telling a story about having 35 coconut trees behind his own house.
Another reason to develop the industry is to provide job opportunities to Ghanaians. The industry has the potential to reduce unemployment numbers significantly. Coconuts are more than food, it’s also used in decorating, planting and biofuels. There is so much potential.
The maiden International Coconut Festival will be on 24th to 26th September 2019. It’s organized by the African Coconut Group together with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The theme for the event is ‘Promoting Export Diversification through a Robust Ghanaian Coconut Industry” and is set to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Written By Ivy Prosper