The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and Plus-One Investments have found another potential market in Brazil and would soon start exporting butternut squash to the South American country.
The product has enjoyed good market in Birmingham City in the United Kingdom, a source of motivation for companies investing in the production of the crop in northern Ghana to explore other potential markets in order to increase their export to the international market.
Sadat Anwar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Plus-One Investments, said this at Mettor in the Lawra District when the company came with 40-foot containers on four articulator trucks to load the produce to Accra for export.
He said this year; they would be looking forward to exporting about 72 metric tons of butternut squash.
Mr Anwar revealed about 262 out-grower farmers were engaged in the production of the crop in the Upper West Region with another 1,198 people engaged during the harvest period.
According to him, as the product continued to enjoy good market in the international market, what it meant is that, the company would have to expand their production to cover more farmers to produce more to meet the demand of the international market.
The Plus-One CEO cited post harvest losses as a challenge and called on SADA to consider providing park houses so that the product could be stored there while they make arrangements for the export.
Bede Ziedeng, the Upper West Regional Minister, commended both SADA and Plus-One Investments for supporting the farmers in the production of the crop, saying it had helped a lot in bettering the economic situation of the people.
He said SADA faced a lot of challenges and criticisms since its inception, adding that the performance of the butternut squash project meant that there was something positive in it.
The Regional Minister therefore, appealed to the critics to take note of the positives also so that they could make their criticisms fair and balanced.
Mr. Ziedeng appealed to Plus-One Investments not to monopolize the production of the crop but rather encourage other potential investors to come in and support so that they could engage more farmers to alleviate poverty in the area.
Paschal Dere, the Lawra District Chief Executive, said the butternut squash had the potential of becoming the cocoa of the north if massive investment was made to increase production.
He said the good thing was that, what was not of exportable quality was used by the locals in preparing different kinds of meals.
Kuubena Naakpi, one of the farmers said last year he made GH₵9,200.00 net profit out of which he was able to put up a six bedroom house.
Benobome Nifaaalso testified that through the project she was able to pay her children’s school fees.