The Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has repositioned itself in its quest to ensure that Ghana moves from being a net importer of palm oil to a net exporter of the commodity in the next five to 10 years.
Subsequently, the association has been revived to make it a formidable force to champion the cause of its members in particular and the country at large.
The President of OPDAG, Mr Samuel Avaala, has said it was unfortunate for Ghana with all the favourable natural resources to buy more palm oil with scarce resources instead of tapping its local capacity to produce to feed the market and for export.
He said OPDAG was determined to ensure that palm oil became the second commodity after cocoa in terms of foreign exchange earnings.
It is important to say that as a country we need to double our output in the next 10 to 25 years to become self-sufficient in palm oil and save foreign exchange which otherwise goes into its importation.
Also, the association, must know that they cannot sit and look up to the government and its ministries and agencies alone to get them out of this situation.
They as actors in the industry have a part to play to collaborate with the government and all stakeholders to make Ghana a net exporter.
Looking at the composition of OPDAG, we know it is made up of actors in the entire value chain of the oil palm sub-sector.
These include small and medium to large-scale oil palm growers and processors, refiners, manufacturers, marketers, suppliers and distributors.
The association must work to limit hindrances to land acquisition, inadequate funding, limited credit facilities and low research.
Having said this, we think it is only appropriate that government protect the local palm oil industry by lending support.
We believe that with the appropriate duty, the palm sector will be able to attract investors to invest in the plantations which in the long run will increase local production of palm oil and reduce its importation.
It is imperative to further mention that the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Food and Agriculture must jointly oversee the establishment of a Palm Oil Development Board, as a precursor to uplift the oil palm industry.
Such a board we think could have oversight responsibilities over policies, regulations and possible legislations that relate to the industry.