The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) have pledged support for exporters in the processed cocoa sector to obtain the technical proficiency in order to export their products to Canada.
This is part of an ongoing initiative to diversify Ghana’s export markets and reduce the country’s over-reliance on the European Union Market.
In that regard, the GEPA and GNCC, in partnership with the Trade Facilitation Office (TFO), organised a day’s seminar to equip exporters with the technical expertise to understand and export their products to the Canadian market last Wednesday in Accra.
The event, which was on the theme: “Exporting Cocoa products to Canada,” was aimed at improving bilateral trade relations between Ghana and Canada in the cocoa sector.
In-depth knowledge of Canadian market
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNCC, Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, stated that the seminar was an outcome of the project implementation agreement of the TFO Canada responsive facility 2017.
This facility, he said, seeks to provide export-ready companies with an in-depth knowledge of Canadian food standards and other access conditions needed to produce and export cocoa products to Canada.
“It also intends to target small and medium-size cocoa-processing companies that are interested in diversifying their export markets to Canada as well as consolidating their market presence,” he added.
Available statistics from the International Trade Centre shows that Ghana’s total export to Canada in 2016 was US$50.2 million with 86 per cent accounting for cocoa and cocoa preparations.
In the same period, Canada’s total export to Ghana was US$190.7 million with 51 per cent accounting for cereals.
“Based on the available data, we are of the strong conviction that this technical seminar has come at an opportune period for Ghanaian exporters to diversify their export products as well as increase their volumes to Canada,” Mr Badu-Aboagye said.
He added that the chamber remained resolute in promoting and protecting the interests of all businesses in the country.
The General Manager of the GEPA, Mr Stephen Normeshie, observed that though Ghana exported some products to Canada, much of what it did were primary traditional products, cocoa and cocoa preparations.
“Canada is one country that imports a lot of products from the world, including tropical and ethnic products from Africa,” he indicated.
He said the total Canadian import market for cocoa and cocoa preparations was US$1.3 billion, growing at a rate of 3.5 per cent over the last five years.
Given that Ghana’s market share stands at a paltry 1.2 per cent, and has even been declining over the past five years, he said there should be a paradigm shift in the country’s export market to accelerate growth of the economy.
Promoting non-traditional exports
The manager noted that the GEPA had over the years undertaken programmes and activities to promote and accelerate the development and growth of the non-traditional exports.
“We are happy to say that these efforts are yielding positive results; through our marketing activities, our Non-Traditional Exports to the sub-region are increasing and getting close to our exports to the EU, which is our biggest market. Canada and many developed countries accounted for just 10 per cent of our NTE earning in 2015,” he added.