President of Vegetables Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG), Felix Kamassah, who is also a vegetable grower himself, is calling for the establishment of a National Vegetable Authority (NVA) to regulate and oversee the transformation of the vegetable sub-sector for socio-economic development especially, in this COVID-19 pandemic era.
The authority will be responsible for oversight of vegetable education, research, innovation and development, as well as modernization of the sector through the development of commodity value chains.
Kamassah said this is the time to establish such an authority; the vegetable market alone is growing at more than 10 percent per annum and the potential value for export is estimated at $250 million especially in this COVID pandemic period where everyone needs to eat vegetables to boost his or her immune system.
“Vegetables can make an important contribution to food and nutritional security and can enhance the livelihood of marginal and smallholders due to their high farmgate values per unit land area; besides their economic, nutritional and medicinal importance, traditional African vegetables are considered valuable because of their ability to fit into year-round production systems” he stated.
He noted that nutrition has in recent times been capturing the international spotlight in an unprecedented way in spite of persisting global hunger.
Touching on Ghana’s Vegetables Sector challenges smallholder farmers are facing and how government involvement is crucial, he said there had been discussions in the media that the youth could find employment in so many sectors but oftentimes, agriculture is being left out, the very sector that could employ the majority of the youth.