Business News of 2014-06-23

Blue Skies turns to Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire for raw materials

A significant drop in the supply of fruits and vegetables in Ghana is compelling Blue Skies Products Ghana, a fruit processing company, to source the commodities from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire for its production.
The drop in the supply of fruits such as mango, pineapple, coconut and pawpaw has been blamed on the decline of fruit production in the country recently. The Nsawam-based multinational company adds value to locally produced fruits, most of which are exported.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Hans Docter, who made this known at a press briefing in Accra on Friday, said “because most fruit farmers are out of business and fruits are no longer available, Blue Skies is sourcing from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire”.
Also at the press briefing was a Dutch trade mission led by the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation, Ms Lilianne Ploumen.
The mission consisted of businessmen from 50 companies from the water and sanitation, maritime logistics, agrifood and life sciences and health sectors. They are in the country to seek business opportunities in Ghanaian companies, as well as deepen and strengthen existing relations.
Mr Docter said upon a visit to the fruit and vegetable processing multinational company at Nsawam in the Eastern Region last Friday, the management of the company informed them that the drop in fruit and vegetable supply in Ghana was posing a challenge to the company’s production.
To meet the challenge head-on, he said management of the company had been sourcing fruits and vegetables from the two neighbouring countries to meet the challenge. According to him, Ghana had not strategically used its agriculture potential to export more fruits and vegetables to earn foreign exchange.
“Agriculture is a sector where there is huge potential but in effect, Ghana has lost its grounds to utilise this advantage. We feel the Ghanaian government has to give urgent priority to agribusiness to enable farmers to go back to the sector to produce more fruits and vegetables,” he said.
To boost the sector, Mr Docter said the Dutch government and companies were committed to stimulate more fruit production by investing resources in the sector.
“We hope to encourage more training for farmers to embrace better crop varieties to increase yields. But it is up to the Ghanaian government to ensure that local businesses go back to the sector and start production to boost import trade in agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy,” he said.