GEPA strategises to increase market share
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has put key strategies in place to increase its market share on the export market and attract foreign exchange into the country.
It is currently supporting non-traditional commodities such as cashew, pineapple, okra, mango, vegetables, shea butter, chili pepper, yam and general agricultural produce for export.
Proceeds from the Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) have averaged $2.53 billion over the last few years although the potential for an increase in the numbers exists.
Already, the GEPA has commenced the processes of formulating a 10-year National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) from 2019 to 2028 aimed at enhancing Ghana’s effective participation in the multilateral trading system.
It is also to enable the country to take maximum advantage of market opportunities in the short, medium and long terms.
This is in line with the government’s decision to transform Ghana’s economy from a raw material exporting one to a high value-added industrialised economy through its industrial transformation agenda anchored on the one district, one factory (1D1F) and other closely-related programmes.
To this end, the GEPA has outlined a number of programmes for this year and beyond to enhance trade with the rest of the world.
These activities include the development of one exportable product in all districts of Ghana to provide the required raw and semi-processed materials to feed the factories which are being set up in every district of the country.
Plans are also advanced to implement three important programmes, the Innovative Design Week, which will identify, develop and showcase new designs from export-oriented companies to stress the importance of good packaging and labelling.
Also, the Innovative Mentorship Export-Oriented Programme, which will be implemented with institutions such as the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI) and universities; and the Women in Export Road Shows, which aims at empowering women entrepreneurs to grow their export businesses through strategic interventions in their companies.
The GEPA is building a strong competitiveness to improve the performance and growth of selected priority value chains and related services by stimulating their contribution to industry, regional trade, exports and job creation.
The Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) hub, which was launched in Accra and Kumasi was to strengthen SME's competitiveness through the implementation of green business practices.
GEPA would also intensify its assistance to fish processors to improve the quality of processed fish for export.
This is to boost foreign exchange revenue for the country.
Currently, discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture to procure and distribute 3,000 “Ahotor Ovens” to fishmongers along the coastal regions.
It has developed a concept document to attract more youth, particularly tertiary school graduates, into agriculture to boost employment and increase production for export.
It is collaborating with the Youth Employment Agency for execution.
GEPA Impact Hub
The authority is also developing the architectural design for the establishment of a GEPA Impact Hub.
This is to provide a one-stop shop facility to exporters to access trade information, both online and physically, with desks provided for key export facilitation agencies, such as Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) within the Export Trade House building.
This year, the authority, according to its management, is supporting Joekopan, a major vegetable exporter, with a refundable assistance of GH¢157,000 to increase production through the construction of a dam for irrigation and also prepare for a visit of the government of The Netherlands, one of the main export destinations.
Additionally, through Srighan Farms, GEPA is supporting over 1,000 outgrowers with GH¢726,000 to increase production to meet the increasing demands.
The GEPA is also supplying over nine million smooth cayenne suckers to Ekumfi Fruits Factory, Ohu Farms, Golden Riverside, Myroc Farms, Lovely Farms, Premier Foods and Vegetable and so on.
In 2018, over 5.3 million smooth cayenne pineapple suckers were produced and distributed to the 17 outgrower farmer groups of Bomart Farms, HPW Limited, Ekumfi Fruits and Juice etc.
The authority has supported the Yam Development Council with about GH¢350,000 for the development and training on production of an improved yam seed at Dabala in the Volta Region.
About 250,000 improved seedlings have been developed and supplied to farmers for this planting season.
To improve the export base of the country, the GEPA has supported more than 250 clients with export advisory services on various products such as cashew, pineapple, okra, mango, vegetable, shea butter, chili pepper, yam and general agricultural produce.
Last year, 20 Ghanaian companies were assisted to receive approval for duty-free and quota-free access about 50 products to the West Africa market under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).
It also assisted about 42 companies to obtain ETLS with the view to increasing access to the ECOWAS market.
The GEPA embarked on a regional sensitisation in all the national borders to educate members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) on the need to ensure accuracy in the capture of export data. This is to track exports and the expected right amount of forex inflows.
Last year, the GEPA contacted 230 1D1F companies to assess and help them with their export readiness.
It worked with a UNIDO consultant to deliver the Market Hub, the award-winning importers and exporters marketplace, which profiled about 120 Ghanaian companies on to the market hub.
Also, 220,000 grafted cashew seedlings were developed at 10 nurseries under the National Cashew Development Initiative with the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG).
From October to November last year, based on the finding of the pilot, cashew plantations in all 31 cashew districts, which was about 30,000 acres of plantation, were sprayed which is expected to translate into higher yields this season.
The GEPA is undertaking a number of projects in the handicraft sector such as the completion of a common-use shed and the provision of equipment to the Abompe Beads Producers Association, build and furnish three Model Innovation, Design & Incubation centres in Aburi, Kpetoe and Bolgatanga.
It is also processing the rehabilitation and completion of Abrafo Craft Centre in conjunction with CEDECOM and remodelling of the Aburi-craft village to a modern fair ground for international exhibitions in arts and crafts.
The Chief Executive Officer of GEPA has been appointed as a member of the International Trade Centre (ITC) Advisory Board of Trade and Investment Support Institution (TISI).
The authority was also chosen at the last World Trade Promotion Organisation (WTPO) Conference 2018 in Paris to host the WTPO Conference in 2020.
It also won the WPTO 2018 Award for Best Use of Information Technology at the WTPO Conference 2018 in Paris.