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Study reveals production and yield gap for Fruit and Vegetables in Ghana

A cross section of participants at the workshop

A study conducted in 2016 by Ghana Institute of Horticulturalists (GhIH) and the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO of the United Nations has revealed a huge production and yield gap in both fruits and vegetables in Ghana.

The study was conducted within the framework of  the Global Fruit and Vegetables for Health Initiative (PROFAV), which was launched in 2003 in Geneva by FAO and WHO in recognition of the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption for health, and underlining the importance of improved production capacity of local small holder farmers.

At a workshop to present the findings of the study to stakeholders, the Minister of Food and Agriculture Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto in an address read on his behalf noted that, the industrial potential of many fruits and vegetables available in Ghana is enormous hence the need to embark on a massive production of these fruits and vegetables not only for their high nutritive value but also for enhancing the establishment of many processing industries and creation of jobs

Dr. Afriyie Akoto observed that, fruit and vegetable sector is important for the vitality of the Ghanaian economy. “Horticultural crop production provides new and profitable sources of income for farmers,” He said. 

According to the FAO Representative to Ghana Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, reduced fruit and vegetable consumption intake is linked to poor health and increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“Low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 selected risk factors for global mortality,” Dr. Abebe added.

Insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths and about 9% of stroke deaths.

The survey revealed that the average population still does not consume the minimum daily requirement of 400g per day of fruit and vegetables necessary for good health. The general trend was that with advancing age, the consumption of fruits and vegetables increases.  However, children are at risk and should be provided with more fruit and vegetables for adequate nutritional status and alleviate micronutrient deficiencies.

Since 2003, the FAO and WHO have been leading the Global Initiative on the Promotion of Fruit and Vegetable for Health (PROFAV). The initiative aims to raise awareness and boost fruit and vegetable production and consumption for improving people’s health and farmers’ incomes.

The FAO-WHO PROFAV Initiative promotes a multi-disciplinary approach including agriculture, education and health sectors to work together to effectively promote production and consumption of fruits and vegetables