Ghana's non-traditional exports earnings fell 2.43 per cent to $2.364 billion in 2012 compared with $2.423 billion in 2011.
Mr Gideon Quarcoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA), attributed the decline in earnings to varying factors, including the drop in the average price levels of some key products.
Addressing the 74th National Exporters’ Forum and Launch of the 2012 Non-Traditional Export (NTE) Statistics in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Quarcoo said a fall in earnings of cashew nuts, cocoa paste and canned tuna led to the slight dip in earnings.
Cashew nuts contribution to earnings dipped by 16 per cent, cocoa paste 11 per cent and canned tuna 33 per cent.
Besides, the lifting of the ban on exports of cocoa and its derivatives in Cote d’Ivoire in 2012, limited market opportunities within the year for some key cocoa companies in the country.
Mr Quarcoo said there was also an unfavourable cross-border trade in cashew nuts with neighbouring countries, including Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
“The relatively stable economic conditions in Cote d’Ivoire caused cashew from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire to be channelled through Abidjan which otherwise could have been routed through Tema port.”
Mr Quarcoo, however, expressed optimism that despite the 2.43 per cent decline in NTE earnings for 2012, the target for 2013 which is $3.3 billion is achievable.
“This calls for aggressive export promotion and development by GEPA in collaboration with other key export stakeholders,” he added.
Mr Quarcoo observed that cocoa paste, cocoa butter, canned tuna, plastic products, cashew nuts, natural rubber sheets, veneers, raw cotton lint, lubricating oil and aluminium sheets, plates and coils were the ten leading NTE products that traded in 2011 and 2012.
He said Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea and Liberia as the top ten NTE markets in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Mr Quarcoo said Ghana needed to redouble her efforts in reaching out to the ECOWAS markets, stressing that the members were “hungry” for made-in- Ghana products.
The National Exporters’ Forum provided the platform for stakeholders in the export sector to discuss solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Mr Kobina Ade Coker, Chairman of the Governing Council for GEPA, was optimistic participants at the forum would suggest innovative means to address the challenges that could stall progress made at the export sector.