Israeli and German experts revitalize Ghana's citrus industry

More News Most Read Today's Headline
Israeli and German experts revitalize Ghana's citrus industry

A trilateral agreement between Israel, Germany and Ghana will help hundreds of West African farmers put the zest into citrus production and exports. shutterstock_131689889 citrus panorama

Agricultural experts from both countries are due to visit Ghana as part of a training program to assist fruit and vegetable growers in rural parts of the country, as part of a cooperation agreement that has been operating for several years now.

Israel's Agency of International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will be training citrus farmers and passing on know-how in a bid to enhance citrus production, empower growers, and create sustainable growing methods across the citrus chain.

The two-week workshop will be facilitated by two Israeli citrus experts; entomologist Dr. Shmuel Gross and agronomist Dr. Dubi Raber, who have both previously visited Ghana to educate around 100 farmers about best practices.

On the agenda are subjects such as nursery management, planning citrus orchard, cultural practices, irrigation and nutrition. There will also be a special focus on attracting more women into agriculture.

According to BMZ, almost half of Ghana's population lives in poverty with agricultural producers suffering from inadequate market access, distorted market prices and bad infrastructure.

The potential to increase the incomes of the rural population remains virtually untapped, while low productivity and low competitiveness in local and export markets typically characterizes the agricultural sector in Ghana, a spokesperson said. Currently Ghana's citrus yield stands at 20-25 metric tons (MT) per hectare.

"The objective is to develop value chains within the production of citrus fruits and these activities (including the training) are part of the Market Orientated Agriculture Program," the spokesperson added.

A MASHAV statement echoes similar sentiments.

"With our knowledge and experience, it is only natural that we accepted the request from our friends at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, " said Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-li.

"Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghana economy and we are especially pleased to be contributing to making it a little sturdier."

The MDZ spokesperson mentioned improvements in orange juice production as one success story example from the program, highlighting one company that had improved the health and ecological aspects of its product by allowing it to source produce from growers with certifications.

Since the intervention, the company now expects to export 3,000 metric tons (MT) of ecologically-certified orange juice worth US$1.5 million, as well as supplying the local market with around US$300,000 worth of juice which will create between 150 and 200 seasonal jobs, especially suitable for local women.

"Given its central role in generating income and providing subsistence for the majority of the people of Ghana, as well as its potential to lead transformation of the economy, agriculture is expected to drive the new development agenda," MASHAV said in a document titled Israel-Ghana Partnership for Development.

"The main focus will be to accelerate the modernization of agriculture and ensure its linkage with industry through the application of science, technology and innovation.

"The project focuses on technology development and transfer of know-how intended to support applied research activities, especially in citrus."


Subscribe to our newsletter