The Ghana Exim Bank is seeking to reduce Ghana’s US$100 million and US$60 million imports of tomatoes and onions in the lean season with the introduction of greenhouse technology.
According to the CEO of the Bank, Lawrence Agyinsam, the move should also help address the perennial depreciation of the cedi.
He was speaking at the graduation of the first cohort of beneficiaries of a training christened Youth in Green House Enterprise Project, one of the many initiatives introduced by the government through the Ghana Exim Bank to drive its plan of achieving food security in the country.
Following significant strides in initiatives such as the planting for food and jobs, which has reduced the importation of some food items such as maize, and increased production of some vegetables, the Ghana Exim Bank CEO, Lawrence Agyinsam, is optimistic of the prospects of the project.
“As they say, Rome was not built in a day; a journey of thousand kilometers begins with a step. If you make the investment, the benefit thereof will not be shown immediately and we promise Ghanaians that in the next year, some of the benefits will be on the ground as we are seeing already.
EximBank, as you may know, is the key financial institution for the 1 District 1 Factory. This is not a one district factory, one factory — this is youth enterprise, doing greenhouse enterprise projects making sure that we rake in and bring in the youth.
And it’s going to be in six regions of this country and again this is phase one, if it’s successful then we move to phase two so that there will be full security and sustainability to make sure that we stop the importation and then rather export to our neighboring countries and even abroad. That is the dream,” Mr. Agyinsam said.
For the past month, graduates with various backgrounds in agriculture from different universities across the country were taken through technical skills in nursing through to the harvesting of crops such as lettuce and cucumber.
In addition, the beneficiaries were given entrepreneurial skills needed to start their own agribusiness which should involve the sale and possible value addition to the crops they cultivate.
Mr. Agyinsam added that the skillset should provide a different approach in addressing the food supply needs of Ghanaians.
The Ghana Exim Bank is supporting the Youth in Green House Enterprise Project with GH¢20 million. The beneficiaries are also expected to cultivate crops on a greenhouse size of not less than 624 square meters.
In all, about 600 youth are expected to be employed directly or indirectly via the Youth in Green House Enterprise Project.