Business News of 2013-12-04

Agric needs serious attention - German envoy

The acting German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Thomas Wimmer, has said a serious professionalisation of agriculture to include the value chain will have a greater impact on the livelihoods of citizens than the emerging oil and gas industry.

Mr Wimmer, who was speaking at the opening of two concurrent international trade fairs, the agrofood West Africa and plastprintpack West Africa 2013 exhibition at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday, therefore, encouraged Ghanaian businesses in agro processing to take advantage of first class packaging technology to boost the efficiency and exports of agro-food from Ghana and other parts of West Africa.

His call is most appropriate because agriculture employs about 68.9 per cent of the rural population (sixth Ghana Living Standard Survey), where most of the country’s poor live. Serious agriculture would, therefore, mean tackling poverty alongside agricultural development.

The sector also employs 50.1 per cent of the economically active population of Ghana and its contribution to incomes, hence economic growth will be in many folds should it get the needed attention.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the sector contributes 21.3 per cent to the total value of goods and services produced within the economy, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) having shed about two percentage points from its 2011 performance of contributing up to 23 per cent to GDP.

He said tackling agriculture should include processing, packaging, marketing and exportation of agricultural products, saying that path would be appropriate for Ghana because it already exported agricultural produce such as cocoa beans, tropical fruits and palm oil.

Mr Jeremy Agyemang, a Senior Agric Economist at the Agribusiness Support Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the ministry was focused on adding value to the agricultural produce, making the agrofood fair coming at a good time.

A total of 81 exhibitors from 21 countries, mainly in Europe, are attending the event being held from December 3 to 5, 2013.

German international trade organiser, fairtrade, is organising the event with the support of the Germen Delegation of Industry and Commerce in Ghana (AHK Ghana) and the German Embassy in Ghana, the Ministries of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as the Austrian Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria and Ghana.

The Graphic Communications Group Ltd is also supporting the fair.