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Papaya, a rising star for Ghana’s export market

Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot


Ghana has all the natural conditions that can make her become a major producer and exporter of papaya if the appropriate practices are applied.


Indeed, Ghana’s geographical location offers a favourable climate for papaya production; papaya requires abundant sunlight and water, a fertile soil, and absolutely no frost condition(s).


Also, Ghana’s proximity to Europe, the major market for papaya further offers logistical advantage over other major producing countries such as Brazil and Ecuador.


In spite of this, Ghana has only managed to register a marginal presence on the papaya market.


For instance, in 2008, the 15 core member states of the European Union (EU) imported 35,750 metric tons of papaya with a CIF value of 35million Euros. Out of this, Ghana papaya amounted to 1,061 metric tons, representing a market share of only three percent.


During the same year, shipments to Switzerland represented 1,338 metric tons (of which 250 metric tons were re-imports from the EU), Ghana’s supplied only 10 tons.


In the past few years, however, there has been an increased investment in Ghana’s horticultural industry. Ghana has been demonstrating its determination to exploit its full potential in the fresh produce export business by making serious efforts to modernize every level of its horticultural supply chain-“from farm to fork” with the objective of ensuring reliable and consistent delivery of quality and volumes to its export markets.


As part of this objective, Ghana has completed the refurbishment of Shed 9 into a fruit terminal at the Tema Sea Port. The fully temperature-controlled ultra modern facility covers a floor space of 400metres square as well as housing a dedicated container-handling and plug-in platform, the President of the Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Anthony Sikpa, has disclosed.


According to him, the fruit terminal will seriously enhance opportunities for sea shipment beyond the use of airfreight shipment, since it is a requirement for moving larger volumes.


At a stakeholders’ forum on Papaya in Accra, yesterday, Mr. Sikpa revealed that Golden papaya variety, introduced into Ghana in 2006, has shown great potential for increasing returns on investment. This is due mainly to its relatively low cost of production and farm management practices.


The Trade and Investment Program for a Competitive Export Economy (TIPCEE) has assisted a number of papaya producers to conduct successful demonstrations of Golden and Solo papaya field, employing various interventions along the supply chain, he added.


Other interventions piloted included drip irrigation, seed production, establishing quality standards and inspections criteria, Global GAP certification, and packaging.


Through these demonstrations, technical know how within the sector has been developed to support growth and expansion in the country.

Opportunities exist for investment in large scale production for both fresh and processed papaya for both export and local markets.


Speakers at the forum expressed the need to exploit the papaya fruit production to boost especially the agriculture economy in Ghana.

They observed that many tropical countries have successfully exploited this fruit crop as a commercial crop and have brought a reasonable income to the poor farmers.


Historically, papaya is a native to Central America. In the 15th century the seeds were transported to West Indies, Philippines, Africa and the Indo-Pak subcontinent before 17th century.


Sufficient papayas are grown throughout the world and it is ranked 19th among top 20 well known fruits of the world.






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