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‘Invest in Ghana’s agribusiness space’

BY: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey
Mr Harm Duiker, Country Director of SNV (left), signing  a cooperation agreement with Mr Benjamin Agbesi, CEO of AB Farms
Mr Harm Duiker, Country Director of SNV (left), signing a cooperation agreement with Mr Benjamin Agbesi, CEO of AB Farms

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has invited Dutch businesses to invest in Ghana’s agribusiness space which it said, offers more opportunities.

The Director of Value Chain and Logistics at the ministry, Papa Kow Bartels, said with more than 700,000 businesses on Ghana’s companies’ register, agribusiness accounted for only 0.44 per cent, a huge gap that businesses from The Netherlands and other parts of Europe could explore to set up directly or partner local counterparts.

The director was speaking at the second Horticultural Business Platform meeting in Accra, which also hosted an 11-member business delegation of agro-based companies from The Netherlands. They were in the country to explore business opportunities.

The delegation was organised and led by the Netherlands African Business Council, an organisation with access to more than 20,000 African and European businesses with interest in doing business in Africa.

Economy Beyond Aid

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Mr Bartels said the support of countries such as The Netherlands and its private sector was important as Ghana strived to build an economy beyond aid.

“Agriculture employs 45 per cent of our people, yet entrepreneurship in the sector is less than one per cent, leaving a huge gap. We, as a country, are working on our economy to become a major player in West Africa with a population of about 400 million people most of who are into agriculture,” he added.

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According to Mr Bartels, Ghana is a beacon of peace where there was political and economic stability, safety and security of persons and sound policies for industrial transformation.

Business opportunities

The 11-member trade mission from the Netherlands explored business opportunities in Ghana’s horticulture sector from Monday, March 11 to Thursday, March 14, 2019.

The members comprised a wide range of horticultural technology and knowledge providers including Simonis Fertilisers B.V, specialised in the production of mineral organic and organo-mineral fertilisers.

Also included were spraying and soil analysis technology companies, Mantis ULV and Agrocares; Bakker Brothers, a well-known brand in the seed business, Jiffy and OLMIX , producers, environmentally friendly propagation systems and natural sources of nutrients as well as Delphy, a consultancy company. The rest were from Solidaridad and HAS University of Applied Science.

The meeting also brought together key horticulture actors in the fruit and vegetable sector who focussed on emerging challenges and outlined solutions that could make the sector more competitive.

Significance

The Deputy Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Katja Lasseur, said the meeting confirmed the Netherlands government’s focus on promoting agriculture through private sector participation and investments.

She added that the meeting echoed the motto of ‘Holland and Ghana growing together.' The ambassador expressed the hope that members of the delegation would find suitable business partners in Ghana.

During the event, there was a call for concept notes on the vegetable sector, inviting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to submit innovative business ideas to address gaps in ‘value addition and alternative market arrangements.'

Background

The HortiFresh Business Platform meeting is an event organised quarterly to bring together key service providers, producers, processors, traders, wholesalers and retailers in the fruit and vegetable sectors in Ghana.

The stakeholders provide advice on the course and direction of the Hortifresh programme in terms of sector activities and how available funding opportunities can be used to improve on the sector.