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HortiFresh organised its first Business Platform meeting in Accra to discuss domestic standards and export requirements within the horticulture sector of Ghana. The meeting explored business opportunities in the domestic and export markets, looking at new crops, processing and alternative marketing arrangements. The event took place on Thursday 29 November 2018 at the Mensvic hotel and attracted a large crowd of representatives from the private and public sectors.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in charge of Horticulture Hon. George Oduro echoed the ministry’s commitment in ensuring that food safety and phyto-sanitary standards are improved through the compliance with existing regulations and guidelines. According to the Hon. Deputy Minister, the rapidly changing demands of the middle income class and the increasingly strict conditions of the EU, necessitate a new way of doing business for fruit and vegetable growers. “This includes conscious production practices, with respect to pest and disease and postharvest management that together improve consumer confidence and can increase revenues for farmers”.
One of such initiatives is the Ghana Green Label certification scheme that puts in place protocols for the cultivation of quality horticulture crops. This will provide choice to quality conscious consumers that appreciate more environmentally production practices. The Hon. Deputy Minister further commended the efforts put in place by the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) at the air- and seaports to avoid a future ban on fruits or vegetables. He encouraged all fruit and vegetable exporting companies to join an Association and follow the stringent crop management, tracking and tracing protocols that have been developed recently.
The Programme Manager of HortiFresh, Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah, used the opportunity to outline the core activities of the new HortiFresh programme. These include: supporting innovative business ideas of small and medium enterprises, encouraging more youth participation in the horticulture sector, and developing strong horticulture clusters in those hotspots of tomato, onion and mango production.
During the event, breakout sessions were organised to explore new business opportunities like diversification of export crops, adding value through processing and alternative marketing arrangements. The discussions will be fed back into the investment agenda of HortiFresh that contains a number of loan facilities and co-financing grant schemes in support of the horticulture private sector.
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