From January to December 2018, NTEs brought in an amount of $2.813 billion compared to $2.556 billion earned in 2017.
Presenting the figures at the Launch of the Report on Analysis of 2018 Non-Traditional Export Statistics, Mr Samuel Dentu, Deputy Chief Executive, Operations and Finance GEPA, said the excellent results in 2018 was due mainly to an increase in the exports of cashew nuts.
Cashew nuts exports surged 43.84 per cent to $378.21 million in 2018 from $262.95 million in 2017, following various support to farmers to enhance growth and production of the crop.
In December 2017, the GEPA launched a pilot mass spraying and distribution of grafted seedlings programme in the Brong-Ahafo Region aimed to spray about 70,000 acres annually and to increase production.
On the performance by the various sub-sectors, processed and semi-processed saw a marginal growth to $2.208 billion, representing a 4.92 per cent rise in 2018 over the 2017 earnings to retain its place as the leading sub-sector with a contribution of 78.53 per cent to total NTE earnings in 2018.
Agriculture recorded earnings of $591.03 million up 34.04 per cent from $440.9 million in 2017, while handicrafts raked in $12.8 million in 2018 compared with $10.4 million in 2017.
Mr Dentu said the overall growth in the industrial art and Craft sub-sector in 2018 was due to extensive research and marketing of ceramics products in the ECOWAS sub-region and focused efforts at taking advantage of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme by four manufacturers of ceramic tiles.
The top 10 leading NTE products were Cashew Nuts, Cocoa Paste, Cocoa Butter, Articles of Plastic, and Canned Tuna.
Others are Cocoa Cake, Cocoa Powder, Iron Sheet circles, rods, billets, Aluminum plates, Sheets and coils and Banana.
In the year under review, NTEs were exported to 151 countries. The European Union was the key market for NTEs with 41 per cent and a value of $1.14 billion, a growth of 5.47 per cent.
ECOWAS placed second with a value of $741.6 million, a contribution of 26.36 per cent of total NTEs earnings. The performance show a growth of 20.16 per cent due to a resurgence in the demand for lubricants from the sub-region.
Exports to other countries saw a growth of 17.28 per cent to $722.5 million, those to other developed countries fell by 16 per cent to $160.9 million and other African Countries slipped 6.45 per cent to $42.8 million.
On country-by-country basis, Netherlands emerged as the lead destination for NTEs with $430.207 million, followed by Burkina Faso with $238.163 million.
Of the top ten market destinations, four were EU countries, three were from ECOWAS countries, one from other developed countries and two were from other countries.
Commenting on the performance, Madam Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer GEPA, said the Authority would sustain the various initiatives, including; training of producers, to ensure that the Authority achieved its target of over $5 billion by 2021.