A one-day stakeholder engagement to discuss and address barriers that impede agricultural trade and market access to food has been held at the Department of Agriculture of the University of Ghana, Legon.
The event dubbed: Agricultural Trade and Market Access for Food Security (ATMA4FS), the second in the series and focused on markets at the domestic, regional and international level with regard to the import and export business as far as agriculture was concerned.
It was organised by the University of Ghana, in collaboration with its partners from the University of Gottingen in Germany, the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium, Wageningen Economic Research of the Netherlands, the University of Thies, Senegal, and the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
The ATMA4FS is one of the projects being initiated by the Long-term Europe-Africa Agriculture Programme and Agriculture Research and Innovation Programme (LEAP-Agri),which is in charge of its financing.
Speaking at the opening ceremony last Thursday, the ATMA4FS Project Coordinator, Rev. Dr Edward Ebo Onumah, said the core mandate of the initiative was to provide insights into the trade and market access situation of countries, firms/farms and how market access was influenced by trade agreements, non-tariff measures, among others.
The project, he said, highlighted three product categories that were important for current and potential African trade: fresh fruits and vegetable (FFVs) — mango; grain products (rice and wheat) as well as red meat and poultry.
“We investigate trade and market access issues in three African countries —Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, and two African trade regions (Economic Community of West African States - ECOWAS, and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with European Union partners (Germany, Netherlands and Belgium),” he said.
The LEAP-Agri Coordinator for Ghana, Dr George Owusu Essegbey, said an amount of €489,479, representing the European Commission top-up funding, had been given to Ghana for the implementation of nine LEAP-Agri programmes.
“I give credit to the Ghanaian participating institutions, including the University of Ghana, for rallying to save the face of Ghana and ensure that we made good our commitment in part,” he said.
He said having received the money there was the need to implement the ATMA4FS projects to the letter and commended the Department of Agriculture at the University of Ghana for the work done so far.
Dr Essegbey said in February 2021, Ghana completed its science, technology and innovation (STI) programme for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) road map.
The road map, he said, was premised on the conviction that STI could accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.
In a presentation, an Associate Professor of Agriculture Economics and Agri-Business, Professor Irene Egyir, called on the government to come out with a legislation that would ensure that mango farmers undertook disease management of their produce at the same time.
That, she said, was to address the current uncoordinated practice that was not helpful to the industry.