Hortifresh explores ways to consolidate Ghana’s fruits and vegetables sector after EU ban lift

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The first Business Platform Meeting organized by the Hortifresh programme, is exploring ways of consolidating gains made in the fruits and vegetables sector following the lifting of a ban on Ghana from exporting vegetables into the European market.

Stakeholders met to discuss domestic standards and export requirements within the horticulture sector in Ghana so as to avoid another ban in the future.

HortiFresh is a programme with a mission to establish “a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security” in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

The programme which aims to reach 15,000 farmers and increase their productivity by 20% by 2021, is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which has prioritized commercial agriculture in its strategic plan of moving from aid to trade.

The HortiFresh Business Platform meeting is an event organized quarterly to bring together key service providers, producers, processors, traders, wholesalers & retailers in the fruit and vegetable sector in Ghana to provide advice on the course and direction of the Hortifresh Programme in terms of sector activities and how available funding opportunities can be used to improve the sector.

Though the fruit and vegetables market in Ghana has a huge potential for growth and investment, it has a deficit for the right standards in production for both local and external consumption.

In other to bridge this gab, Hortifresh organized its First Business Meeting on Thursday, 29th November, 2018, which brought together key stakeholders in the fruit and vegetables sector drawn from both the private and the public sectors to find solutions.

The focus of the meeting was to discuss how to streamline standards and guidelines in order to explore the business opportunities in the domestic and export markets, looking at new crops, processing and alternative marketing arrangements.

Speaking in an interview with Ghana News Online at the sidelines of the meeting, the Programmes Manager of Hortifresh, Sheila Assibey-Yeboah indicated that her outfit was concerned about maintaining the right standards and the application of the right protocols so that Ghana does not relapse after the lifting of the ban as well as maximize the full potential of the fruits and vegetables sector in the country. And hence, the focus of the meeting to deliberate on these issues.

She further indicated that the results of the discussions by the stakeholders would also inform some of the measures for her outfit to adopt for the call for concept notes for the programme for next year.

Not too long ago, the ban was lifted on Ghana’s vegetable exports to the European market. A situation which was occasioned by non-compliance to EU phytosanitary requirements.

The number of intercepted plants from Ghana at the EU borders from 2012 to 2015 due to harmful organisms had increased significantly, making Ghana the country with the highest number of interceptions globally in 2015.

As a consequence, on 13 October, the European Commission decided to prohibit the introduction of 5 plant commodities from Ghana into the EU market until end of December 2016. These plants included: Chilli pepper; bottle gourds; luffa gourds; bitter gourds and eggplants.

The ban was in place until it was lifted and farmers resumed exports of all plant commodities to the EU market from 1st January, 2018.

Source: Clement Akoloh||Africanewsradio.com




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