Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, a potential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer position, has personally approached the World Bank to secure a $200 million funding injection for the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA).

Recognizing the revenue potential and the positive impact it could have on Ghana’s economy, Dr. Akoto took the initiative due to the slow disbursement of the government’s initial $15 million seed money over the first three years of the TCDA’s establishment.

Since its inception through Parliament’s Act 1010 in 2019, the TCDA has aimed to regulate and develop Ghana’s tree crop sub-sector, explicitly focusing on the Tree Crop Diversification Project (TCDP).

However, only $3 million had been disbursed during the first three years, which severely hampered the Authority’s operations.

In an interview at his campaign office on July 9, 2023, Dr. Akoto expressed his relief that the World Bank had agreed to support the TCDA with a $200 million investment, shortly before his term ends.

The International Development Association of the World Bank announced this financing facility for Ghana’s Tree Crop Diversification Project on June 23, 2023, in Washington DC.

The funds will aid the government in modernizing agriculture, enhancing productivity, resilience, and industrialization.

The financing is expected to directly benefit 12,800 cocoa farmers and 39,975 cashew, coconut, and rubber farmers and their households.

Additionally, it aims to create 20,000 new jobs in downstream value addition by attracting private capital.

Furthermore, it is projected that almost 40% of the beneficiaries involved in on-farm activities will be women.

The TCDP, overseen by the TCDA, will prioritize the development of six tree crops: cashew, rubber, shea, oil palm, mango, and coconut, with cocoa itself receiving special attention from the government.

It is estimated that the combined growth of these crops will generate annual earnings of between $6 billion and $12 billion for Ghana within six to seven years of implementation.

The financing for the Tree Crop Diversification Project will support demand-driven research, enhance on-farm productivity, and bolster resilience to improve productivity, profitability, and climate resilience in the cocoa, cashew, coconut, and rubber value chains.

Dr. Akoto commended the International Development Association for its financial support toward the Tree Crop Diversification Project and expressed his belief that the $200 million investment would accelerate the activities of the TCDA.

He emphasized that this action was crucial for addressing Ghana’s economic challenges, as agricultural transformation, particularly in the tree crop sector, played a vital role.

Drawing a comparison to Ivory Coast, Dr. Akoto highlighted that their economy earned approximately $8 billion annually from exporting five cash crops: cashew, cocoa, coffee, rubber, and oil palm.

He emphasized Ghana’s advantage with its extensive arable land, abundant water bodies, and favorable climatic conditions.

Confident in the capabilities of the TCDA’s Board and Management, Dr. Akoto believed that with the availability of funds, they would effectively pursue the Authority’s objectives and contribute significantly to Ghana’s economic transformation.

If elected as the NPP flagbearer and subsequently as President on December 7, 2024, Dr. Akoto envisioned this development as his central contribution to Ghana’s development and economy.

He praised the commitment of Ghanaian farmers and expressed gratitude to the current Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Bryan Acheampong, for continuing the second phase of the successful Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative that he had initiated.