The Head of the European Union (EU) to Ghana, Ms Diana Acconcia, has welcomed the launch of the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme by the President last Tuesday.
She affirmed the resolve of the EU to support Ghana to increase its export to the EU market as envisaged by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with the launch of the programme.
Ms Acconcia gave the pledge last Tuesday when she paid a courtesy call on the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh.
The visit, which was barely four hours after the President had launched the PERD programme, was to seek further cooperation between the EU Parliament and the Ghanaian Parliament in the promotion of trade and diplomatic relations between the EU and Ghana.
“I hear today there has been a launch of the Planting for Exports by the President of Ghana. That is very welcome to us because we would like to see more products from Ghana exported to the EU”, Ms Acconcia said.
The PERD programme is designed to focus on the development of selected export tree crops, namely cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, mango and rubber.
Launching the programme, the President said it would present Ghana with opportunities for diversification and new sources of revenue.
Ms Acconcia noted that Ghana had a trade agreement with the EU and so all products from Ghana could go to the EU without paying any duty and without being subjected to any limits.
She said EU’s objective now was to increase Ghana’s exports to the EU market for mutual benefits.
“Now what we have to look at is how to make the Ghanaian products more competitive in the EU market with certification”, she said.
Ms Acconcia said the European Parliament was at the end of its term and was going to have elections in May, 2019.
She said there was the need to explore other areas of the collaboration between the EU and Ghana Parliament.
For instance, she said the EU was committed to assisting Ghana in tackling the issue of climate change which she described as “greatest threat to humanity.”
In his response, Mr Annoh-Dompreh, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, said the Cotonou Agreement between Africa and the EU had been reviewed to deepen bilateral relations, especially in the area of trade.
He expressed the hope that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would give the green light for Parliament to ratify the reviewed agreement and urged other African countries to also ratify it.
“I am assured that as soon as the Executive does what is needful, we (the Legislature) will not hesitate in ensuring that it is ratified as soon as possible”, Mr Annoh-Dompreh said.
He said the ratification of the agreement was crucial to boost the volume of trade between the EU and Africa.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh said the launch of the One district, One factory; Planting for Food and Jobs and now Planting for Exports and Rural Development programmes by President Akufo-Addo were geared towards increasing productivity, creating jobs and increasing the country’s exports.