3rd Eastern Region market fair ends in Koforidua
The third edition of the Eastern Region Commodity Satellite Market Fair has been held in Koforidua, the regional capital.
The event was to showcase the agricultural potential of the region to attract agribusiness entrepreneurs.
It was also aimed at showcasing to the public assorted food items of well branded and packaged agro-based/agro-processed products developed in the region.
The exhibition was organised by the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council in collaboration with the regional, municipal and district agriculture departments, to add value to the raw agricultural products in the region.
It was sponsored by MTN, the World Food Programme (WFP), YARA Ghana Limited, Pan African Savings and Loans and TIAST Group, as well as other regulatory bodies such as the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) among others.
The fair was on the theme: "Enhancing Value Addition and Export Potential Through the Eastern Commodity Satellite Market; The Role of Regulatory Bodies".
Seth Kwame Acheampong (left), Eastern Regional Minister, being assisted by Nana Ohuneabobirim Osuodumugya Otutu Ababio (2nd from left), Adukromhene and Nifahene of Akuapem Traditional Area, to officially open the third edition of the Eastern Region Commodity Satellite Market Fair in Koforidua. Looking on are other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain
The fair, which lasted three days, had on display varieties of packaged food items and vegetables such as onions, cabbage, tomatoes, mushrooms, cooked foods such as banku, waakye, ampesi, tuozaafi (TZ) and kenkey.
Other items included packaged plantain chips, mushrooms, smoked tilapia fish, fried catfish, cassava dough in powdered form mixed with soya beans, local rice, gari, honey, palm oil, shito and corn flour among others.
All the products were from the region noted for the production of food crops and aquaculture.
At the fair, a number of people could be seen admiring and purchasing some of the items and at the same time making business contacts and networking for subsequent purchases.
Packaged coconut gari mix product on display
Addressing stakeholders and exhibitors to officially open the fair in Koforidua last Wednesday, the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, said the exhibition was to ensure that the products with their labels from the region would meet international standard.
That, he explained, would instil confidence on the global market.
Mr Acheampong stated that the whole concept was in line with the region's industrialisation agenda which started in 2019 which had culminated in two similar exhibitions held earlier.
He told the gathering that the third exhibition was building on the successes of the previous ones and that the fairs had become a household name in the agricultural space.
Delving more into the event, the regional minister said it was a strategy to link small-holder farmers and processors to ready markets.
To ensure the success of the initiative, Mr Acheampong said all the agricultural departments within the municipal and district assemblies in the region were tasked to play lead roles in branding of at least one agricultural commodity for which they had comparative advantage in cultivation.
"The concept is worthy of emulation because it deals with product labelling, product branding, value addition and product certification," the minister stated.
The Eastern Regional Director of Agriculture, Hajia Habiba Yusufu, said food processing and value addition had become strategically important for the country’s economy.
In that respect, she said improving and packaging of food products from the farm to comply with international standards had therefore become necessary.
In that direction, Mrs Yusufu said that had been in line with government’s policies and programmes for sustainable agricultural development.
She indicated that the fair would also address challenges such as high post-harvest losses and poor access to markets in the region.
Mrs Yusufu pointed out that several branded food products such as high-quality locally produced rice, assorted cassava products, gari, konkonte, oil palm, spices and honey among others had been developed under the Eastern Region Commodity Satellite Market agenda.
Packaged mushroom on display at the fair
The Chief of Adukrom who is also the Nifahene of Akuapem, Nana Ohunabobirim Osuodumugya Otutu Ababio V, who chaired the function, said the fair would lead to improvement of agriculture in the region.
He called on the exhibitors to explore the opportunities of adding value to the agricultural produce to earn more income.
He said the agricultural sector had been a vital contributor to the country's economy and provided employment to the youth.
The Eastern Region, he stated, had been noted for its rich agricultural potentials, for which there was the need for a reliable market for the produce.
He stated that the fair would therefore unlock the food potential of the region.
Some of the farmers who exhibited their produce told the Daily Graphic that bad roads to their farms and marketing centres and poor pricing of food crops by middlemen had been their main challenges.
For instance, one of the agric agents who is also a farmer at Odumase Operational Area in the Afram Plains South District, Osei Danso, said transporting farm produce from Ekye Amanfrom to Donkorkrom was not easy because of the bad nature of the road.
A female fish seller who is also a promoter of all kinds of fish, both dried and fresh at Donkorkrom, Grace Akofa, said the transportation situation worsened whenever it rained, rendering some portions of the road unmotorable.