Companies from about 19 countries are in Ghana to seek opportunities for inclusive business and value chain development in the agricultural sector.
They are taking part in a three-day international trade show and conference, which is aimed at increasing Ghana and its neighbouring West African countries’ food self-sufficiency and improvement in the supply value chain.
Industry players including the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana, investors, experts, and academia are also taking part in the event, to discuss the latest technologies needed to improve the entire food value chain.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, was optimistic that the move by the companies would stimulate stronger public-private partnerships to solve the post-harvest losses in the Agric value chain.
In a speech read for him, Dr Afriyie Akoto said the move by the private sector would also augment the Ministry’s efforts to increase food availability and improve farmers’ incomes.
“We are particularly happy, and we think that the wastage will be salvaged through the processing, which will happen and make more food available to us and also improve the income of our farmers.”
He also said the Ministry was driving an aggressive programme to provide adequate warehousing facilities to prevent post-harvest losses often associated with the bumper harvest of food crops in the country.
The Minister urged Ghanaian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities from other countries, noting that measures being adopted by the Government to absorb the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict would put the country in better stead as a global competitor.
Mr Alessandro Gerbino, the Trade Commissioner at the Italian Embassy, said companies from Italy had come to Ghana not only to sell machines and leave but to set up in the country through mutually beneficial partnerships.
“The real deal is value addition – in many areas, Ghana has an interesting production of raw materials but too few transformed products, but if you can transform the raw materials, you are going to create value, jobs and income and attract new investment.
“The focus is the food industry, which is strategic for Ghana and international demands. This requires consistency in standards and guarantee, over time, the same level of quality, which partnerships would provide.”
Ms Barbra Baldi, one of the exhibitors at the trade show noted that Ghana had many opportunities in the Agric and food value chain, which needed support from the Government.
She, therefore, called on the Government to create an enabling environment that would make companies, especially the local ones, access the needed funds, technology, and technical expertise, to build up and process locally.
“People are scared about investing at this moment because the economic situation is not good. For local companies to invest in the country, importing machinery is difficult for them because of the currency situation.”
“First, we had the issue of COVID, now, it is the depreciation of the Cedi and since May, it has been a hell of a time and a lot of companies are shutting down. The Government, should, therefore, give more support to businesses including start-ups; access to funds and specialised training.” She added.