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West Africa Agrofood trade show underway

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Eric Quaye Bentil (3rd fom right), Director of Plant Protection Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, being assisted by Daniela d’Orlandi (right), Italian Ambassador to Ghana, and Paul Marz (left), Managing Director, Fairtrade, to cut the tape to launch the international trade show. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Eric Quaye Bentil (3rd fom right), Director of Plant Protection Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, being assisted by Daniela d’Orlandi (right), Italian Ambassador to Ghana, and Paul Marz (left), Managing Director, Fairtrade, to cut the tape to launch the international trade show. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

An international trade show and conference yesterday opened in Accra with 90 companies from 20 countries showcasing their products and services.

The 7th West Africa Agrofood and Plastprintpack show is focusing on agriculture, food and beverages, food ingredients, food and hospitality, plastics, printing and packaging technology.

The three-day show is being organised by a German events company, Fairtrade Messe, with its local partners, Geovison.

It is aimed at improving agriculture food supply value chain and self-sufficiency with exhibitors displaying products, including technology and solutions specifically tailored for the West Africa market.

Participating countries include Ghana, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Spain, Hungary, Sri Lanka Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The rest are Cote d’Ivoire, Italy, Morocco, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa and the US.

Significance

The Managing Director of Fairtrade Messe, Paul Maerz, said the show was to offer exhibitors and visitors an international platform to network and build strong partnerships.

He commended the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Business Development, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as other key ministries and institutions for their support.

Mr Maerz said agricultural machinery imports into the West Africa market had reached about 200m euros annually.

Quoting a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report, he said food imports into the sub-region reached $16b last year while they exported $14b worth of products.

Also, Mr Maerz added that the sub-region’s food and beverage technology imports increased by 5.8 per cent annually from 496m euros in 2015 to 694m euros in 2021.

Also, West Africa’s imports of plastic technology accounted for 217m euros in 2020, having increased from 219m euros in 2018 to 263m euros in 2019.

Printing and paper technology was imported at a value of 95m euros in 2020, 109m euros in 2019 and 107m euros in 2018, with Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire and Senegal being the main importers apart from Nigeria. Imports of packaging technology also amounted to 312m euros, up 5.2 annually from 230m in 2015.

Agric sector

The Director of Plants Protection Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Eric Bentsil Quaye, said agriculture was the backbone of the country's economy and contributed significantly to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The ministry, he said, was therefore intensifying effort to reduce the importation of agriculture inputs such as fertiliser by encouraging the private sector to make investment in organic fertilisers and other such inputs.

“MoFA is further undertaking an aggressive move to provide adequate warehousing facilities to prevent the usual post-harvest losses often associated with harvest,” he added.

The director urged investors and businessmen to take opportunity of the conducive business environment in the country to invest in the agricultural value chain.

Foreign participation

The Italian Ambassador to Ghana and Togo, Daniela d'Orlandi, said 20 Italian manufacturers were at the conference to showcase their products and also exchange ideas with Ghanaian companies.

She said Italy and Ghana have had strong bilateral relations which had worked well for the mutual benefits of the two countries over the years.

The Deputy Head of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany, Suvine Jansen, also said that 11 German companies would be exhibiting their products.

According to her, some German investors had expressed their readiness to establish businesses in Ghana due to its political and economic stability.