Ghana & Agriculture

“Agriculture” is among the greatest investment opportunities for risk capital (Venture capital and private equity)

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Ghana is ranked 87 out of 179 ranked world countries as related to economic freedom and 8 out of 46 local sub-saharan african countries.

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Study shows majority of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from socially responsible companies.

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read more about Sardis’ corporate responsibility program…


Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world Ranked Ghana as “Free”. Ghana received a 1 (on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the lowest) for political rights and a 2 for civil liberties. It is one of only 10 countries that Freedom House rates as Free in the region.

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Africa – The Next Growth Market

Over the past decade, Africa’s real GDP grew by 4.7% a year, on average—twice the pace of its growth in the 1980s and 1990s. The surge cut across nations and sectors. By 2009, Africa’s collective GDP of $1.6 trillion was roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s. The continent is among the fastest-expanding economic regions today. In fact, Africa and Asia (excluding Japan) were the only continents that grew during the recent global recession. Though Africa’s growth rate slowed to 2% in 2009, it bounced back to nearly 5% in 2010, and in 2011 it is likely to touch 5.2%.



78% of U.S. families say they purchase organic foods

Seventy eight percent – more U.S. families than ever before – say they are choosing organic foods, according to a study published today by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). “In a time when the severity of the economy means making tough choices, it is extremely encouraging to see consumers vote with their values by including quality organic products in their shopping carts,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director and CEO. The finding is one of many contained in OTA’s newly released 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study. “It’s clear that with more than three-quarters of U.S. families choosing organic, this has moved way beyond a niche market,” Bushway added.


Ghana Export Promotion Authority Educate Exporters, Farmers On Export Trade Investments
Monday, 31 October 2011 00:00

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) through its export school on Thursday began a two-day intensive training in export marketing for exporters, cooperative farmers, smock and basket weavers from various districts in the Upper East Region.

The training which is expected to end on Friday, would look at export marketing, export quality management and export financing as part of efforts to inform the traders on export opportunities in the Region.

The Ghana export school was established to address the international trade-training needs of the export community, agencies supporting export trade development, businesses and personnel within the export product supply system.

Addressing participants at the workshop Ms. Maria Mensah, Upper East Regional Zonal head of the GEPA entreated participants to take due advantage of newly identified products such as chili pepper and sesame seeds which are high in energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients.

She indicated that minerals and vitamins which are essential for healthy growth could be promoted as export commodities for the three northern regions, and reiterated the call for them to venture into the business because it has great value.

Mr. Samuel Brew an official of the GEPA who facilitated the training workshop, advised the participants to be circumspect when making export decisions and said the growth in world trade had come with a corresponding growth in competition between goods from different parts of the globe.

He indicated that Non-traditional exports presented lots of opportunities to most Ghanaian businesses and had grown from a meager 2 million dollars in 1984 to a staggering $1.65 billion  in 2010. He added that exports of over 300 products by over 1000 exporters made up this amount.

Mr. Brews stressed the need for participants to identify export market opportunities, saying “Export is impossible without market opportunities and you cannot export to a non-existent market, neither is it advisable to attempt to export to a market in decline. Before exporting, be sure to have identified a promising market”.

Mr. Theophilus Okine, an Official at the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority reiterated the role customs play in the export trade. “As one of its numerous responsibilities in the country, customs oversee to the exportation of goods from one country to the other and facilitates the movement of export goods across countries”, he noted.

He urged participants to acquire the necessary documentation such as movement certificates, certificates from regulatory bodies, invoices, packing list as well as way bills before undergoing export procedures.  He cautioned participants to engage the services of recognized and licensed agents when exporting.

Mr. Peter Obeng, an agricultural expert at the GEPA encouraged the participants to adopt standardized agricultural practices and post-harvest handling of selected agricultural produce.

He indicated fresh fruits and vegetables were grown under wide range of climatic and diverse geographical conditions, using various agricultural inputs and technologies on farms of varying sizes, and said in each primary production area, it was necessary to consider particular practices that promote the production of safe fruits and vegetables.

Some of the Participants expressed delight to the organizers and said the training had gone a long way to educate them on the various aspect of the export trade which would enable them make wise export decisions in future.




Ghana Ripe For Fresh Fruits, Vegetable Production
Thursday, 15 September 2011 00:00

Ghana’s vast expanse of arable land and favorable weather positions the country as a potential producer and processor of fresh fruits and vegetables on a large scale.

Mr Sunny George Verghese, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Olam International, who made the observation, said this must be exploited to consolidate the country’s food security.

He was addressing officials and stakeholders of Olam Ghana Limited at a dinner in Accra to mark his two-day visit to Ghana.

Mr Verghese inspected Olam’s new facilities, including a biscuit factory and a $31.5 million wheat mill in Tema, which was nearing completion.

He said the company believed that food insecurity stands out as the most threatening of the four key developmental challenges confronting the world, and only an integrated and concerted approach could avert a full blown crisis of global food shortages, adding that other challenges were the impact of climate change, water security and energy security.

Mr Verghese said while arable lands were being lost to salination, alkalination, soil erosion and other phenomena, the Food and Agriculture Organisation Committee of Experts has warned that the world would need to increase food production by between 70 percent  to 100 per cent to meet the rising demand caused by its fast-growing population and a radical shift in the world’s dietary habits.

He said: “The United Nations has announced that the world’s population would be 7 billion in October this year, growing at a rate of 85 million people a year.”

Mr Verghese said this is one of the reasons Olam believe that over the next 15 to 20 years the world would experience a growing imbalance between the supply and demand of food as a result of the sharp rise in its population and this is already showing in the steady elevation of food prices throughout the world’’.

He said Olam’s global strategy for reinforcing food security, which was currently being adopted in Ghana, was to be selectively integrated into the country’s food supply chain so as to be able to navigate through predictable and unpredictable commodity cycles.

Mr Verghese said that through such integration, Olam would build a model, which would be resilient and survive changes in commodity cycles.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga, Deputy Minister for Education, said the government was determined to revive the cotton industry and promote cotton cultivation to a level where ‘’cotton would be to the people of the North as cocoa has been for years to the people of the South – a cash crop which provides income opportunities for rural farmers while providing the basis for a viable textile industry for the country’.

He said the industry had been in crisis for several years, attracting little or no investment and lacked basic technical expertise prompting government to scout for a serious investor to assist in rejuvenating the sector.

Mr Ayariga said: “Today, it is my pleasure to announce that, within the short period since government took this step and Olam came on board as an investor, we are receiving reports and testimonies from the North of several thousands of farmers, who otherwise would never have been involved in cotton production now being registered. They have access to farm inputs and are completely pre-financed by Olam”.

He observed that the sector was currently benefiting from considerable investment, which had made cotton farming more attractive and had also led to a major boost in farmer confidence in cotton cultivation.

Mr Ayariga stressed that government had set very stringent and ambitious targets for Olam and it was his hope that the company would continue to work hard to deliver these objectives as well as secure it return on investment.

Olam Ghana Limited is a subsidiary of Olam International and has an 18-year track record in Ghana as a major supply chain manager of agricultural products.

It engages in the export of agricultural commodities including Cocoa, Cashew, Sheanuts and Wood Products.

Olam also imports and distributes rice, sugar, dairy products, tomato paste and edible oil through its extensive countrywide sales network, but the company is probably best known as ranking among the country’s leading licensed buying companies for cocoa, sourcing cocoa from a network of over 1000 suppliers and delivering to Ghana Cocoa Board.



Butternut Squash – A New Export Product From Ghana
Thursday, 19 May 2011 00:00

The Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) has introduced butternut squash, a fruit as a new export product from Ghana. Butternut, belongs to a group of crops collectively called cucurbit (a member of the gourd family, which includes pumpkin, melon, and cucumber), it is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. Cut into its pale, yellow-beige hard skin one would discover a vibrant flesh that is much denser than that of its relatives.

The fruit can be roasted and toasted and also pureed for soup or mashed into casseroles, bread, muffins and also used in many ways as potatoes can be used. Experts say it is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, low in fat, and delivers an ample dose of dietary fibre, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spin bifida.

EDIF with the mandate to develop products for export, has embarked on a pilot of butternut squash at the request of EDIF’s strategic marketing partners, Minor, Weir and Willis based in the United Kingdom (UK). The request came about because the fruit cannot be planted in winter and has so far been successful on a 15-acre land each at Gomoa Fete Kakraba in the Central Region, and Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region and a 30-acre land in Somanya in the Eastern bringing the total area under cultivation to 60 acres.

At a press briefing in Accra on Thursday, Nana Yeboa-Kodie Asare II, Member of EDIF Board, said the Fund was supporting a pilot production of butter squash for export to the UK, and other crops to be piloted also on request were sweet potatoes and melons.

Nana Asare said it was the first time that the Fund had secured a market even before the produce was ready and called on all and sundry to get on board. He explained that the seeds were hybrid and imported from South Africa and to maintain standards, interested farmers would have their farms certified by the importing country.

After the certification farmers would be supervised by a nucleus group of farmers, who are already participating to ensure that the best practices are undertaken. This is to ensure that supply does not exceed demand and interested farmers would be supported by EDIF.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of EDIF, Agyabeng Antwi-Agyei said EDIF decided to invest in the product to diversify the country’s non-traditional export base and help to increase its export earnings. He noted that revenue from butternut (which has a 90-day maturity period) did not come close to cocoa and that about GH¢370,000 had been invested (from seedlings to export destination) but could not disclose how much was expected in revenue until after six out of nine containers shipped last Tuesday had arrived in the UK.

“The yields are just great. In confidence, invest in it and you will never lose” he said and added that a socio economic impact of the pilot project was to provide means of livelihood in short and medium term to participating farmers and create jobs to reduce employment.

After the pilot phase of the project, EDIF would seek to increase the production by involving more farmers for production and export of butternut squash in large quantities for the European market and also develop the local market.

“All indicators show that butternut squash project will be successful,” he added.

Source: GNA



Data overhaul shows Ghana’s economy 60% bigger
Monday, 08 November 2010 00:00

Ghana leapt into the world ranking of middle-income countries on Friday with a new measure of its economy that will add over 60 percent to its output figure by better reflecting recent growth areas such as mobile telephony.

The long-awaited move, which comes just weeks before the West African country is due start pumping oil, means its debt and deficit levels will automatically fall as a proportion of its gross domestic product.

By prodding annual per capita income above the $1,000 mark, it will also mean that Ghana leaves the World Bank’s low-income bracket of countries such as Liberia and Afghanistan to join the more affluent ranks of Thailand and Ivory Coast.

“There has been a significant change in the size of the economy due to the re-basing of our national accounts which captures the realities of the current period,” government statistician Grace Bediako told a news conference in Accra.

“So yes, we are there,” she said of the World Bank’s so-called lower-middle-income bracket. “Just that our production has to increase so that we can sustain it.”

After the announcement the yield on Ghana’s $750 million 2017 Eurobond eased slightly from just above six percent to 5.878 percent. The cedi was flat at 1.44 to the U.S. dollar.

The rebasing means that 2009 GDP originally measured at 22.598 billion cedis is now put at 36.867 billion cedis – an increase of around 63 percent.

Bediako put GDP per capita for the current year at $1,318.36 provisionally against an existing estimate of $753.

Until now, Ghana used a 1993 measure of economic activity seen not fully reflecting growth in areas such as banking and telecommunications since then. The new measure is based on a 2006 snapshot that gives greater weight to those activities.

“The number is probably bigger than most people had been expecting, which was in the region of 40 percent or so,” said Stephen Bailey-Smith of Standard Bank.

“It makes Ghana look better compared to its peers and it should be upgraded,” he added.

Room for manoeuvre
By jumping into the lower end of the middle income bracket, Ghana no longer qualifies for concessional loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) arm.

However it comes just as Ghana readies to issue a new Eurobond and could allay concerns over its public finances which in August prompted Standard and Poor’s credit agency to lower sovereign ratings for Ghana to “B” from “B+”.

Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor acknowledged last month that spending such as the cost of a new public sector wage deal would mean next year’s budget deficit would touch 7.5 percent of GDP rather than the 3-5 percent range initially expected.

Standard Chartered’s Razia Khan noted the re-basing would automatically make deficit and debt levels appear more benign but would also mean its tax revenue collection as a ratio of GDP would slide below the average for sub-Saharan African countries.

“This will call into question how much room there is for policy manoeuvre to correct this,” she added.

According to the re-based index, Ghana’s economy will grow by 6.6 percent in 2010, the statistics office forecast, compared to the five percent growth most analysts had been expecting.

The re-basing means the services sector now accounts for 51 percent of the economy; agriculture – the one-time leader – makes up 30.2 percent; and the industrial sector 18.6 percent.

Africa good news

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