Government is to construct two more greenhouse villages in Kasoa and Akomadan to boost the production of vegetables in the country.
The greenhouse concept involves the growing of plants in a controlled environment using technology. The concept will not only reduce pest infestation but also ensures high yields.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the need to go into greenhouse villages follows the ban placed on Ghanaian vegetables in the European due to the low quality of Ghanaian vegetables.
In a speech at a greenhouse open day by Ardhi Investment Group, an agribusiness startup and supported by Hortifresh Ghana, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of horticulture, George Boahen Oduro, said the greenhouse concept will open opportunities and increase Ghana’s vegetable exports.
He was represented by the Schedule officer in charge of vegetable, Esther Agyekum. She said the new concept of greenhouse villages will place Ghana as the key competitor in the export of fruits and vegetables.
Madam Agyekum said already one greenhouse village has been started at Dawenya an is receiving further expansion. This includes nursery, post-harvest parking house, cooling rooms, auditorium, accommodation offices among others.
She added that the one to be constructed at Akomadan in the Offinso North District is expected to be commissioned by President Akufo Addo next month.
She said each side has fifty hectares of land which can accommodate up to twenty-six greenhouse facilities.
The Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ardhi Investment Group, Akofa Ata who took the team including the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, on a tour to his greenhouse facility which produces tomatoes said, due to the continued increase in population in Ghana and Africa there is the need for people in agribusiness to put in place efficient agricultural value chain development technologies and practices that will ensure food security.
He said he currently has 21 employees and will be producing 150 tonnes of tomato in a year.
Currently, Ghana imports about 80 thousand tonnes of tomatoes every year and this is expected to reduce as many go into the greenhouse concept.
Mr Ata indicated that Ardhi and its partners, Greenspan and Profyta have a common purpose to support vegetable growers in the tropical zones of Africa to deliver the highest yields in very difficult conditions, provide them with seeds suitable for tropical conditions, field and remote consultancy, tutorials on smart-farming and training.
Ardhi and its partners believe that the various innovative practices are largely responsible for their huge success hence the need to organize such an event to give patrons firsthand information and experience.
He said the biggest challenge is capability in agronomy and asked government to support commercial farms as they bring in taxes, employment, develop the value chain and contribute towards the development of communities.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana Ron Strikker lauded Ardhi farms for such a great initiative while expressing his excitement in seeing Ghanaian and Dutch businesses working together to take greenhouse production to a new level.
He added the new generation of consumers request for vegetables that are healthy and look beautiful hence Greenhouse production best fits this trend, “in the greenhouse, pest and diseases can be controlled much better than in outside production”.
He added that the way forward to rapidly grow Ghana’s fruit and vegetable sector is the greenhouse concept.
Mr Ron Strikker noted that The Netherlands has a lot of experience in Greenhouse villages and will make the knowledge they have available to Ghanaian agribusiness entrepreneurs.
The Greenhouse open day is supported by Hortifresh, a programme designed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the aim of prioritizing commercial agriculture as its strategic plan of moving from aid to trade.
The mission is to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food, nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
STORY FILED BY: DOREEN AMPOFO.