Cabinet has approved the establishment of an Oil Palm Development Board after years of agitations from players in that industry.
The board, according to the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan is expected to promote, regulate and position the country to realize the needed investment and growth of the crop.
Speaking to Citi Business News at the sidelines of the Africa Sustainable Palm Oil forum in Accra, Dr. Alhassan was optimistic the board will help increase Ghana’s production of palm oil.
“Last week cabinet finally approved the formation of the oil palm development board and what is left now is for the ministry to engage key stakeholders particularly the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the AG’s department to put together a legal instrument (LI),” he said.
“We live in a constitutional environment and so the creation of such boards must follow due process. This comes after the stake holders had made some submissions to government,” he added.
He was of the view that the development of oil palm could be done in a more sustainable manner to help reduce its negative impact on the environment.
Dr. Alhassan argued that the board when fully operational will create a platform to formalize interaction between government and the private sector.
Previous calls on government
Many stakeholders have over the years called on government to channel some investments into the oil and palm industry.
Ghana’s palm oil sector currently employs over 300,000 people.
Oil Palm is known to have originated in Africa. Its cultivation has hitherto been on a small scale – primarily as village low-yield multi-crop stands.
Currently, information available indicates that Palm Oil smallholders account for 70 Per cent – 90 percent of oil palm producers in Africa.
Nine countries are currently engaged in the Africa Palm Oil Initiative, at different stages in the process.
The countries include Ghana, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia and Nigeria are engaged in the Initiative.
Other producer countries are expected to join this first regional workshop, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana