Dr John Kofi Mensah, MD, ADB
THE AGRICULTURAL Development Bank (ADB), a leading universal bank in Ghana, recently partnered OVCF, a German cooperation which supports the agriculture sector, to revamp the citrus sector.
ADB, via this partnership, is offering financial support to the Central Citrus Limited to develop and cultivate the over 3000 acres of abandon citrus farms at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
It is estimated that the company would generate an income of about GH¢250 million annually.
Such support by ADB is expected to go a long way to create more sustainable jobs and also cut down on the importation of fruit juices into Ghana.
The Central Citrus Limited would be getting a direct off-take from the Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Factory to make sure their produce is used to blend the Eku tropical varieties to enhance its taste.
The bank thus has bought into the vision of the President Akufo Addo to take off from the shop shelves most of foreign products and replace these with Ghanaian products.
Ghana has the two most suitable sources of oranges coming after South Africa.
The decision by ADB to go into this venture would lead to the creation of more jobs, promote processing, reduce importation and wean the cedi off unnecessary pressure.
The enclave has over 75 thousand acres of citrus and with the support from ADB, it would improve economic activities.
The average citrus farmer has abandoned their farm because of poor revenue coupled with insect infestation and plant diseases, together with unproductive work processes, which often hamper cultivation. Many of the seedlings are pest-ridden, making them useless for further planting.
This frustration usually makes the farmers to switch over to the cultivation of rubber and cassava.
For the past 10 years, most citrus farms have been abandoned as the importation of finished products has outweighed the processing opportunities in the country.