HortiFresh discusses potentials of Ghanaian horticulture industry

BY: Bernard Neequaye
Agreement signed between Rabobank and AB farms for cooperation agreement for AB farms exporter – outgrower project at the business meeting
Agreement signed between Rabobank and AB farms for cooperation agreement for AB farms exporter – outgrower project at the business meeting

The second HortiFresh business platform meeting with the theme: "Exploring Opportunities in the Ghanaian Horticulture Sector – The Role of the Dutch Private Sector" has been held successfully in Accra.

The meeting, which was held on March 14, this year, brought together key horticulture actors in the fruit and vegetable sector to focus on emerging challenges and outline solutions to make the sector more competitive.

The Director, Value Chain and Logistics of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Papa Bartels, urged companies in the horticulture sector to make the best out of the many opportunities in the sector.

Delivering the keynote address to participants from the Netherlands and local actors in the sector at the business meeting, the director articulated that his outfit has developed a 10 Point Plan to help boost the sector.

He indicated that the “trade mission exemplifies the country’s development agenda of Ghana beyond Aid” which he said can only be achieved through the creation of an enabling business environment, trade promotion between countries and business linkages.

The mission members, who came from a wide range of horticultural technology and knowledge providers, took turns to address the participants.

Mr. Haidar Malhas, the irrigation manager for interplast, bemoaned, ‘the fact that with all the opportunities in Ghana, the country still imports some vegetables including tomatoes in large quantities from neighboring Burkina Faso and this is a shameful act which Ghana need to produce her own commodities like tomatoes.

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Another speaker also condemned the over reliance on obsolete technologies by many Ghanaian farmers and stressed the need for a paradigm shift in this direction.

In a speech read by Mr. Idris Egala, Director of Tikolo Ltd. also reiterated the need for Ghana to do more in the Agric sector rather than having to rely on imports from neighboring countries.

The trade mission delegate conceded that Ghana still has a low acceptance profile in the EU for her Agricultural products.

He was however optimistic that Ghana can do better to improve her profile in order to maximize the potentials if better things are put in place after which cooperation agreement for exporter-outgrower project was signed between AB Farms and the Rabobank Foundation.

The meeting ended on a promising note where participants were put in sections and tasked to come up with suggestions that will help the stakeholders and the ministry to address key questions and challenges.

In their concluding suggestions, many of the participants charged the stakeholders to help famers acquire lower interest loans; provide education for farmers to help them understand what the consumer needs are so they can produce to meet consumer needs; and provide more training and motivation for agric extension officers to be able to help educate the farmers on best practices.

These, they thought, will not only help increase yields and productivity in horticulture but the agricultural sector in general.