The European Union has awarded a 7.2 million Euro grant to two banana-producing companies, Golden Exotic limited and Volta River Estates limited to aid in the Banana Accompanying Measures(BAM) for Ghana project.
In 2010, the union accepted the BAM, a support package for 10 banana-exporting countries from the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group of states.
Out of this, two banana export companies were awarded the grant in Ghana.
A European Union(EU) delegation has visited Ghana to ascertain how the project is developing.
The team, made up of dignitaries and European journalists toured two banana exporting companies; Golden Exotic and Volta River Estates limited.
The initiative also followed records of dwindling figures in banana exports from Ghana to the European markets for some time now.
Banana is the most exported fruit in terms of volume and they rank second after citrus fruit in terms of value.
Last year, local producers in Ghana exported 62,000 tonnes of banana to the Eurozone.
This is but a fraction of the over 5 million tonnes imported into the European market each year.
A major factor for the dwindling banana production is the spread of the Fusarium Wilt disease.
It is in this regard that the EU is assisting with 7.2 million Euros grant.
Of the amount, 6 million Euros has been allocated to the Golden Exotic Limited.
This is to improve the welfare of farmhands by providing them with accommodation for the free zone company which exports about 90 percent of its products and employs 2,500 workers.
Team leader of Speechwriting and Communication at the European Commission Peter Fischer says the move is to enhance competition.
“It was due to deteriorating conditions in the EU market that the grant was provided. We are positive this will scale up export production once more”, he said.
Meanwhile, 700,000 Euros out of the 7.2 million euros has been given to the Volta River Estates Limited, also a banana-producing company, to aid in a compost plant.
Volta River Estates Limited employs about 650 workers.
Director of Agriculture at the Volta River Estates Limited, Anthony Kofi Blay tells Citi Business News the grant will be of great benefit to the company.
“We have received a grant of about 700,000 Euros, the provision of vehicles, two trackers and a turner together with mats to cover the compost. These were given to us to help us scale up composting process. For what we are doing now, yes it is enough but if we want to make it on a bigger scale, of course, we will need more resources than we have now,” he stated.
Source: Citi Business News