Agriculture in Ghana, Country Brief

Agricinghana picFrom Ghana’s total land area of 23.9 million hectares, about 57% is suitable for agricultural purposes. Agriculture contribution to GDP over the years has shown a steady reduction from 35.4% in 2006 to 34.3 in 2007 and to 33.59% in 2008. The growth rate of the sector however doesn‘t show any clear trend. The growth rate reduced from 4.5% in 2006 to 4.3% in 2007 and increased to 5.17% in 2008.

The total volume of processed products exported in 2008 was 14,840,535mt. Products exported during the year included cocoa paste, baby food, wheat floor, tomato paste, dried pepper, groundnut paste, maize flour, yam flour, coconut oil, gari, prepared coffee and dried, smoked and salted fish.
The country is classified into three main agriculture zones.

The forest vegetation zone consists of parts of Western, Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Volta Regions. The northern savannah vegetation zone includes the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Region while the coastal savannah includes mainly the Central, Greater Accra and parts of Volta Region.

The northern savannah zone is the largest agriculture zone. Most of the nation’s supply of rice, millet, sorghum, yam, tomatoes, cattle, sheep, goat and cotton are grown in the region. In recent times, mango and ostrich commercial farms are also gaining footholds in the northern zone.

The coastal savannah is notable for rice, maize, cassava, vegetables, sugar cane, mangos and coconut, as well as livestock. Sweet potato and soybean crops are viable in this agro–ecological zone, under irrigation. The lower part of this zone is drained by River Volta. Together with other streams and lagoons, these water resources present opportunities for fish farming or aquaculture.

In the forest zone where rainfall is plentiful, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, cashew, and rubber are cultivated as is the majority of plantain, banana and citrus supplies crops. The major strengths of the sector include a diversity of commodities, well-endowed drainage basin, a well-established agricultural research system and a relative proximity to the European market.

The Market

Cocoa has historically been a key economic sector and a major source of export and fiscal earnings. Ghana is the second largest cocoa-growing country in the world. During 2009/2010, 569,760,000 tonnes of cocoa was exported generating a revenue of US$1,544,370,920. The volume of cocoa processed locally accounted for 124,625,041mt. Ghana processes between 18% and 22 % of its cocoa output into liquor, paste, and butter for export markets, while all other cocoa is exported in its raw state.

The total export of non-traditional Agriculture Products for 2009 was 293,197,463kg amounting to US$ 150,859,274. The leading non-traditional products were Fresh or chilled tunas, Shea nuts, Cashew, Fresh or chilled fish, yams, Banana and Pineapples.

Ghana commands a great share of the African quota of EU market in fruits and vegetables export. Other leading processed agricultural export products were processed tuna, cut fresh pineapples, other prepared fish and tomato paste.

Contribution to National GDP and Growth Rate

Agriculture contribution to GDP over the years has shown a steady reduction from 34.7% in 2007 to 33.59 in 2008 and increased slightly to 34.07% in 2009. The growth rate of the sector however doesn‘t show any clear trend. The growth rate reduced from 4.5% in 2006 to 4.3% in 2007 to 5.14% in 2008 and increased to 6.19% in 2009.

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