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Harvesting opportunities: the untapped potential of Ghana's vegetable sector

The Ghanaian horticultural sector holds significant promise for farmers, processors, input suppliers, and investors, for a diverse array of vegetables deeply ingrained in the nation's cuisine. With an emerging middle class, rapid urbanization, and a growing population, there is a rising demand for high-quality vegetables, presenting ample opportunities for growth and investment.

Despite the diversity of Ghana's vegetable sector, local farmers struggle to capitalize on opportunities within the market. They face stiff competition from neighboring countries like Burkina Faso and Niger, particularly in the production of onions and tomatoes. Despite the implementation of numerous development interventions over the past decade, there has been a slow uptake of good agricultural practices. In addition, investment in equipment that would greatly increase the quality and yield of farmer's production is limited (such as small-scale irrigation). Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from both public and private sectors, focusing on value chain optimization, quality control, and market promotion.

Overview of Ghana's Vegetable Sector
Tomatoes and onions are staples in Ghanaian cuisine, yet their trade systems are quite complex and pose challenges for potential investments. Onions lack immediate prospects, so exploring new ideas in other sectors appears more promising. The professional production of tomatoes outside Burkina Faso's main production period, primarily for use as salad tomatoes, stands out as a viable opportunity in the otherwise constrained tomato value chain.

Expanding the export market for fresh and dried peppers emerges as a lucrative opportunity. In addition, indigenous vegetables like okra and garden eggs boast competitive advantages, while salad greens hold significant growth potential, especially given the rising trend of incorporating salads into meals. Promoting the cultivation and consumption of "new vegetables" (like zucchini, green beans and butternut) represents a promising avenue for diversifying agricultural production and meeting evolving consumer preferences.


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