A marginal increase in the exports of agricultural products in 2015 helped to push up total earnings of Non- Traditional Exports (NTEs) to US$2.52 billion.
The 2015 figure represents an increase of 0.32 per cent over the US$2.51 billion recorded in 2014. The increment was on account of a corresponding increase in the export of agricultural products, particularly cashew nuts.
Total earnings of the NTE sector are derived from the three sub-sectors, namely, agriculture, processed and semi-processed and handicrafts.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr James Tiigah said, “earnings from the agricultural sub-sector in 2015 amounted to US$396.91 million compared to US$340.68 million in 2014, showing an increase of 16.51 per cent. The sub-sector contributed 15.74 per cent to total NTE earnings,” he added.
Also, the top 10 products that influenced the performance of the agricultural sub-sector in 2015 as compared to the performance of the same products in 2014 include shea nuts, medicinal plants and parts, fresh or chilled tunas, banana, pineapples, yams, mangoes, other fresh or chilled fish, and palm nuts and kernel.
Export earnings from the processed and semi-processed sub-sector amounted to US$2.12 billion compared to the US$2.16 million earned in 2014. This showed a decline of 2.27 per cent.
The decline in the sector, according to him, was due to a decline in the performance of some key products such as cocoa paste, natural rubber sheets and aluminum plates, sheets and coils. The sub-sector contributed 84.09 per cent to total NTEs as compared to 86.31 per cent in 2014.
On the handicraft sector, Mr Tiiga explained that export earnings increased by 23.05 per cent in 2015 from US$3.47 million in 2014. The sub-sectors contribution to total NTEs also increased from 0.14 per cent in 2014 to 0.17 per cent in the year under review.
“The top 10 products that contributed to the performance of the handicraft sub-sector in 2015 as compared to the performance of the same products in 2014 were batik/tye and dye, basketware, hides and skins, ceramic products, traditional musical instruments, other handicrafts items, statuettes, beads, paintings, drawings and articles of jewellery,” he said.
Destination of NTEs
The European Union continued to be the leading destination of Ghana’s NTEs in 2015, accounting for about 35.84 per cent.
Ghana’s non-traditional products were exported to 137 countries, in five groups, namely, the European Union (EU), Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), other developed countries and other African countries.
“The performance of the NTE sector by markets indicated that the EU and ECOWAS markets accounted form 35.84 per cent and 31.59 per cent respectively of NTEs and these two markets continue to be leading markets for Ghana’s NTE products. Other African countries, other developed countries as well as other countries accounted for 3.62 per cent, 7.52 per cent, 21.43 per cent respectively of the country’s NTEs,” he said.
The National Export Strategy
In August 2013, the Government of Ghana launched the National Export Strategy aimed at increasing the level of export revenue from the NTE sector to US$5 billion in five years.
The overall objective of the strategy is to develop the potential of the NTE sector to make maximum contribution to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Tiiga explained that some of the programmes that have been undertaken in line with the national export strategy include the establishment of a project coordination and management unit at GEPA to over see the implementation of the strategy.
“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) to set up district level export committees to assist in selecting the district level products. It also include the drafting of a new GEPA organizational structure to ensure effective implementation of the strategy,” he said.