Ghana: Export Strategy to reverse Ghana’s oil palm export deficit

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry have projected that the country would realize a total amount of US$134 million from oil palm export in the next 10 years, to reverse the current deficit in the product’s export.

Through the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) for the country’s non-traditional export sector, the Trade Ministry and GEPA are both ready to promote and support the efforts of companies in the secondary and tertiary processing of palm oil to gain footholds in and expand their share of export markets.

A key strategy to increase export for the oil palm sector in the NEDS, according to GEPA, would include the establishment of strategic alliances, mergers and acquisition of stakes in companies that are already manufacturing and distributing tertiary processed products in targeted markets to enable Ghanaian exporters to get closer to end-users.

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Ghana imported about 320,000 metric tonnes of palm oil in 2018. The country exported 100,000 metric tonnes in the same year, creating a huge deficit.

With local production of palm oil estimated at 520,000 metric tonnes in 2018, the country has an internal unmet demand of 50,000 metric tonnes according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Indeed, the whole of the ECOWAS region has an unmet demand of 850,000 metric tonnes, which is a potential market for Ghana to capitalize on.

Global sales from palm oil exports by country totaled an estimated US$23.2 billion in 2019.

Some countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of palm oil during 2019 include Indonesia,US$10.4 billion constituting 44.8 percent total palm oil exports, Malaysia, US$8.3 billion (36 percent) and the Netherlands, US$1 billion (4.4 percent).

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However, GEPA has identified that the agro ecology in Ghana, remains very conducive for oil palm production with the availability of local and regional expertise.

Ye, the palm oil industry in Ghana has not expanded due to the lack of volume production and diversification into value added products as is done in success countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the NEDS seeks to point Ghana into the direction of tertiary processing of oil palm.

In the current market, about 60 percent of palm-oil consumed globally is in the form of derivatives and as such, the Strategy has admitted that it is important to address the scale of total production of the primary produce to attract the required export revenue.

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