Business News of 2014-09-01

Access Bank boss talks horticulture potential

The Managing Director of Access Bank, Dolapo Ogundimu, has drawn attention to prospects of the horticulture sector becoming a major foreign exchange earner for Ghana amid growing concerns about the country’s widening trade deficit.

“The scarcity of foreign exchange, in particular the US dollar, has led to a rather sharp decline in value of the local currency. The horticulture industry is worth billions of dollars, and we are convinced Ghana can position itself to reap the benefits in this non-traditional export sector.”

Mr. Dolapo, who said this at the opening of the second Ghana Garden and Flower Show in Accra, believes that the event presents an opportunity to sensitise the public and generate the needed publicity to start discussions on how Ghana can expand its horticulture industry to create employment and position itself as a key exporter of flowers in the coming years.

The global market for tropical cut-flowers is now estimated at US$120billion per annum at a time Ghana’s flower exports have dropped marginally in volume.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority’s figures show that earnings from flower exports last year edged up marginally above 2012, despite a drop in the volume of exports.

According to the data, in 2013 a total of 766,090kg of flowers were exported at a value of US$2.33million. In 2012, a total of 811,814kg of flowers valued at US$2.03million were exported.

Mr. Dolapo said the Ghana Garden and Flower Show is in line with the bank’s sustainable banking philosophy,adding: “We are excited to be part of this global effort to make the environment more conducive for individuals and business operations, while contributing to solving growing global concerns about the environment”.

The 11-day show, under the theme “Gardening for Value: Health, Beauty, Jobs and Income," brings together florists, horticulturalists, garden lovers, investors, policymakers, homeowners and real-estate developers.

The goal of the show is to create awareness about the commercial and psychological benefits of urban beautification and gardening, and it also seeks to promote tourism and a healthier and modern lifestyle. It also aims to help create employment and income-earning opportunities that support Ghana’s growth and development.

The exhibition is showcasing creations and facilities by the best florists, garden enthusiasts, furniture and ornament manufacturers, and other gardening and flower-related activities the country has to offer.

Esther Cobbah, Chief Executive Officer of Stratcomm Africa -- organiser of the show -- said there is no doubt that there is a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience from other countries that needs to be tapped.

“We have been excited about the interest shown by many foreign missions in this show and we intend to intensify our interaction with different countries so that future editions of the show can have an international character as well.”

The Managing Director of Floben’s Creations Designs, Florence Benson, also reiterated the point made by the MD of Access Bank, saying: “Flowers can become a great foreign exchange earner. As illustrated by the recent experience of Ethiopia which is now a major exporter of roses, we can do it; and the sharing of ideas and collaboration being provided by this annual Garden and Flower show -- including the active participation of members of government -- can help us to the desired destination."

Julius Debrah, Local Government and Rural Development Minister, noted that a lot of people undertake activities that are harmful to the environment.

He said the Ghana Garden and Flower show will help to encourage people to adopt the culture of gardening in the country’s interests.

“We all need to get involved in this. Parks, gardens and flowers are not just luxuries to be enjoyed by a few in society. They are meant to be part of the environment for all of us to enjoy. Our lives as human beings are enriched when we keep our surroundings green.”

A horticulture and floriculture magazine, Bloom, was launched at the event.

Source: BFT
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