By Isaac AIDOO, in Accra, Ghana
Ghanaian agribusiness gamers have renewed their calls on the federal government to facilitate the growth of fruit and vegetable manufacturing in order that they’ll enhance exports and take full benefit of the rising United Kingdom (UK) vegetable market. value over $10 million.
Felix Mawuli Kamassah, Vice President of the Federation of Ghana Exporters Affiliation (FAGE), has renewed the decision for elevated assist following the meals provide issues reported within the UK by London newspaper The Guardian .
An article dated February 26, 2023 and titled Sure, we do not have tomatoes: why cabinets are empty in UK shops, revealed in The Guardian, confirmed empty vegetable crates in a London grocery store and described how, throughout Inside six to seven weeks, provide chain issues had quadrupled wholesale costs for tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, amongst different meals objects.
Ghanaian farmers and exporters can fill the void
Kamassah, who additionally practices large-scale farming in Ghana’s Volta area and is managing director of Maphlix Belief Ghana Restricted, believes Ghanaian farmers might meet shortages and even exceed demand in the event that they provided the required assist by way of agricultural inputs, infrastructure and financing.
FAGE says it’s conscious that the Ghanaian authorities has, over the previous six years, constructed a number of greenhouses throughout the nation. Kamassah stated it was essential for the federal government to interact the Federation on learn how to maximize the services and put them to higher use for the advantage of the Ghanaian financial system.
75 greenhouses, 1000 to be inbuilt all areas
The Nationwide Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (NEIP), a flagship coverage initiative of the federal government, has put in some 75 greenhouse domes on the Dawhenya irrigation web site within the Larger Accra area.
The undertaking, in line with the federal government, was a part of the method of modernizing agriculture and making agriculture engaging to younger individuals and graduates.
It’s NEIP’s plan to construct 1,000 greenhouses within the 16 areas of Ghana, offering 10,000 direct jobs per 12 months by way of the greenhouse undertaking.
Mawuli Kamassah on his farm
Ghana-UK Bilateral Commerce Settlement
Kamassah stated the Federation is questioning what the federal government is doing to reap the benefits of shortages within the vegetable market in Europe since Ghana has a bilateral settlement with the UK on exports.
He stated manufacturing is vital if we’re to faucet into the UK market, noting that usually the federal government and most entities neglect about manufacturing and solely speak about exports.
Kamassah famous that the federal government wants to take a look at the agricultural sector with good financing, including that generally we speak about exports with out manufacturing, but when we do not take a look at the manufacturing sector, we can’t speak about exports. . If we can’t produce, what will we export? He requested.
Actors in Ghana’s agribusiness sector have always lived with the concern of chapter as they face preliminary challenges of their bid to scale up manufacturing and enhance the export of their produce to worldwide markets.
Farmers and exporters of contemporary fruit and greens are lamenting tens of millions of cedis in losses as shipments of their perishables don’t go away the shores of Ghana for markets in Europe and the UK (UK) because of lack of flights.
The processing and advertising and marketing of agricultural merchandise (agribusiness) is a significant industrial sector in Ghana and creates many roles.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute as much as 70% of Ghana’s financial output. Nonetheless, solely 20 p.c of the agricultural and pure merchandise produced are processed within the nation itself.
Many agribusinesses need assistance to grow to be extra aggressive and, for instance, to enhance their provide chain administration. Furthermore, they usually would not have entry to monetary sources for long-term investments. Girls entrepreneurs specifically want steering to reach a market nonetheless dominated by males.
The agribusiness sector continued to profit from assist from the federal government and authorities companies such because the Ghana Export Promotion Company (GEPA) underneath the Ministry of Commerce and Trade and the Ghana Export-Import Financial institution (GEXIM). In 2017, the federal government launched some initiatives to assist enhance the sector, together with the Planting for Meals and Jobs (PFJ) to modernize agriculture, enhance meals safety, create employment alternatives and cut back poverty.
However trade specialists and trade gamers stated the assist was siloed and much from helpful.
Edward Kareweh, basic secretary of the Common Agricultural Staff Union (GAWU), stated the PFJ had largely disenchanted farmers throughout the nation.
He lamented the countless shortages of fertilizers and smuggling to neighboring West African international locations, depriving Ghanaian farmers of important enter for agriculture.
Thus, the assist to the agro-industrial sector doesn’t appear to have had the anticipated impression as a result of only some firms have managed to entry funds from the monetary sector.
A few of the banks argued that agribusiness operators lack the power to justify their want for funds. They’re unable to give you compelling tasks that will get banks to endorse and assist agribusinesses.
Excessive gas prices are derailing farmers
Excessive costs for petroleum merchandise are quickly eroding the income of farmers and different employees in Ghana’s agribusiness. Many farmers have been pressured to cut back their operations because of what they describe as insufferable prices.
Farmers in Ghana advised this newspaper that skyrocketing diesel and gasoline costs have been growing their manufacturing prices and wiping out already meager positive aspects.
Jonathan Addo, who grows peppers and different greens in greenhouses and within the area, advised this reporter that he now spends about GH4,000 per week on diesel for irrigation pumps, tractors and gasoline to gas his automobile which he makes use of for farm visits.
He has 24 greenhouse services the place he has planted peppers. The farm is positioned in Gomoa Buduatta. He has one other farm, one in open area, at Winneba close to Winneba Excessive Faculty and one other 23-acre farm at Gomoa Amenfi, Bewadze, all within the central area.
Addo has two machines used to irrigate his 7-acre pepper farm – an 80 hp machine and a 17 hp pump machine. He makes use of gas to energy equipment to empty water from the native man-made dam to the farm.
In accordance with Addo, in 2019 diesel price him 200 GH per day, however he (in 2022) needed to cough up 450 GH per day to purchase diesel for his equipment earlier than his farm might have water.
As well as, he spends 200 GH daily on gas for his private automobile when visiting the farm. This offers a complete of 16,000 GH per thirty days in bills.
Evaluating his prices now with how he fared in 2017, Addo stated: I spend an excessive amount of on gas and it impacts my manufacturing and revenue tremendously.
Felix Mawuli Kamassah, vegetable grower, exporter and now Vice President of the Federation of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) Vegetable Exporters and Growers Affiliation of Ghana (VEPEAG), stated his gas funds had elevated by greater than 150% between 2019 and 2022.
The corporate grows candy potatoes, yams, cassava and greens for export markets.
COVID-19 has revealed the deep challenges dealing with agribusinesses
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), funded by the German Ministry for Financial Cooperation and Improvement (BMZ) and carried out by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in partnership with the United Nations Improvement Program (UNDP), carried out a survey titled COVID-19 Agribusiness Tracker to evaluate the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic on agribusinesses.
Survey information signifies that it might take a bit extra time and assist for companies to get better from the impression of the pandemic.
In accordance with the survey, round 67.6% of agribusinesses reported a median month-to-month gross sales drop of 48.8% throughout the lockdown.
The info revealed that round 16,000 agribusinesses remained closed, with over 78,000 workers estimated laid off and over 267,000 employees whose wages have been minimize between Might 2020 and January 2021.
Elevating consciousness, leveraging the AfCFTA by agribusinesses
When firms have been requested in the event that they have been conscious that the African Continental Free Commerce Space (AfCFTA) began operations on January 1, 2021, solely 25.6% of agribusinesses throughout all sectors have been conscious of the AfCFTA . Of the six helps companies count on from the AfCFTA, the highest three helps agribusinesses want have been elevated details about enterprise alternatives (24.7%), decrease price of credit score (20. 6%) and eradicating coverage or regulatory bottlenecks (16.3%).