In Ghana, the once lucrative business of harvesting vegetables for the export market is apparently losing its lustre. This is due to a combination of factors, the main ones being lack of investment and uncertainty in the subsector.
The two key factors coupled with general dwindling export fortunes of the non-traditional exports from the country have negatively impacted the vegetable export business which used to provide a source of livelihood for thousands of people within the value chain and their dependents.
The situation became worse after the European Union (EU) ban between 2015 and 2017, robbed players in the business of their working capital, and forced majority of them to divert into other trades, including working as construction labourers, drivers' mates, head porters among others.
In a decade, data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has showed negative export fluctuations in the sector. According to market information, of the registered 1,500 vegetable exporters in the country, only 100 exporters were currently in active business.
From US$1.75 million in 2009, foreign exchange derived from vegetable exports rose to US$4.35 million in 2011, before declining to US$608,304 in 2016.
However, the industry, which yielded approximately US$831,751 in 2017 export earnings, dropped to US$669,208 in 2018.