The leadership of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has held its maiden Annual General Meeting with the call on small-holder farmers to improve their yields through best farm management practices.
Mr Samuel Avaala, the President of the Association, said the small-holder farmers, who are members have been taken through these best management practices, which would likely increase the country's export yield.
The event was held under the theme: "Oil Palm; Agenda for Growth and Jobs."
The 2-day event brings together all oil palm value chain actors under one roof to deliberate on challenges facing the sector and also seek sustainable solutions to them.
More so the AGM is being held to elect new national executives to steer the affairs of OPDAG.
Mr Avaala said it is possible to increase palm oil production especially among smallholders, if they adopt best management practices.
He said as part of that plan and strategy, Solidaridad has helped the Association over four and a half years to develop evidence based and practical experiments across some farms in the country.
"This will help to generate more employment opportunities for the youth in the sector," Mr Avaala said.
He said by understanding and identifying the causes behind low productivity, management practices that were most effective at improving productivity could be evaluated and adopted accordingly.
Mr Avaala said as a country, the import of palm oil exceeds 400, 000 yearly and at the same time the country exports the commodity.
He said locally as a country smallholder farmers produce about 250000 metric tonnes, but "we consume more than that, that is why we import."
Mr Avaala said about 70 per cent of the production comes from smallholder farmers in Eastern, Central, Ashanti and Upper Volta areas, while the thirty per cent comes from medium to large scale industrial players.
He said the focus was to help improve their 70 per cent yields through best farm management practices.
Mr Avaala said the Association is embarking on an exciting new era, guided by a Strategic Plan that would enable them to become the leading sector beside cocoa.
He said OPADG seeks to promote sustainable growth and development of the oil palm industry through strategic advocacy, best management practices, capacity building, provision of market information and policy change interventions to the industry.
Mr Avaala commended government for the selection of oil palm as one of the cash crops to be developed and promoted to the scale of cocoa.
"So the palm oil plant has lots of potential and use, no wonder government has added palm oil and cashew, among others to be developed," he said.
"We are happy that there is a policy development in this area," he added.