Ghana made USD 1.2 billion from agriculture last year and spent USD 2.4 billion on the importation of food items, this was made known at the launch of the Ghana International Food and Beverages Festival (GIFBF) at the Swiss Spirit Hotel and Suites Alisa in Accra recently.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Perennial Crops) and MP for Akyem Swedru Constituency Honourable Kennedy Osei Nyarko said the core agenda of the GIFBF touches on manufacturing and packaging of food and beverages and agro-processing of raw materials into finished products along the entire value chain. It also seeks to promote government’s policy of transforming the Ghanaian economy from the exportation of raw materials into value addition.
“Indeed a good implementation of this will also bring some level of relief to Ghanaian farmers and the general public as a whole. Farm produce will be readily processed into other forms of products by “off-takers”. He stated that government will continue to create the enabling environment to attract more investors, both foreign and local to influence the springing up of more industries.
He stated further that the ministry is currently piloting a program “Planting for Export and Rural Development” which will cultivate some carefully selected tree crops such as coconut, oil palm, cashew, coffee, shea, and citrus. Produce from these crops will serve as the raw material base for many industries in Ghana under the 1 District 1 Factory.
He also revealed the government’s plan to cultivate 4 million hectors of these tree crops in the next 3 years to feed oil mills established under the one district one factory in various localities in Ghana. “Ghana can generate 30 to 60 billion dollars in revenue per year from palm oil extraction and in the long term benefit from other industries that use palm base products”.
The Chairperson for the event, Mr. Thomas Wabi Bello who is also the current chair for Association of Ghana Industries Food and Beverages sector said the food is the most important item in the world. “The biggest business sector in Ghana is the food and beverage sector, however, we are not realizing our full potential because we lack investments”.
He said the right policies are needed to attract investors, policies that reduce or eliminate risks as well as incentives that will attract investors.” Sometimes the government does not need to invest but with the right policies and investments banks can finance agriculture” he added.
Mr. Richard Afrifa, Chairman of the organising committee for the festival said that this will be the maiden event with plans to make it an annual one. He said the purpose of the festival is to create the oppourtunity for people to do business that is buy and sell whilst being entertained. It will bring together manufacturers, wholesalers and more .”We need to promote the food we eat and what we wear”. The event will allow people to shop and families can meet and have fun. He said aside the need for government’s support, regulatory bodies also need to ensure the right products and safety practices have adhered. Ensuring the improvement of packages Mr. Afrifa pointed, however, has to be done by the private individuals or manufacturers.
To participate one must be in the food and beverage sector or the finance sector for those who want to invest as well as insurers. The event will come off from the 5th to 9th of December 2018.
Present at the launch was the Deputy Minister of Agriculture(Perennial Crops) and MP for Akyem Swedru Constituency; Honourable Kennedy Osei Nyarko , Mr Thomas Wabi Bello ; Founder and CEO of Golden Web Limited who is also the current chair of the Association of Ghana Industries Food and Beverage sector,Mrs Patricia Boateng, Mr Richard Afrifa; Chairman of the organising committee for GIFBF.