GhanaVeg, an initiative supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, has presented a grant of GHC 200, 000 each to two entrepreneurs to finance their business plans.
The beneficiaries are Catherine Krobo-Edusei of Eden Tree Limited and Tikola, an agent of East-West Seeds.
The grant will support Mrs. Krobo-Edusei of Eden Tree to work together with 120 farmers who are suppliers of vegetables to her company. Eden Tree will enter into contractual arrangements with the farmers who will receive assistance in terms of quality seeds, agronomic training and certification.
Tikola, through the fund, will expand its reach to 50 well-trained agro-dealers in the major vegetable producing regions.
It will also develop 19 demonstration sites and reach more than 4,000 farmers with superior vegetable seeds. The targeted farmers are expected to increase their productivity by 30 to 40 percent.
The Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, congratulated winners of the GhanaVeg Business Opportunity Fund.
She said the initiative fits well within the new Dutch policy of trade and aid, using innovative approaches in reducing food insecurity by engaging the private sector.
She said a conducive environment should be created for business and private sector development. This, she said, will be one of the surest ways of solving youth unemployment and food insecurity problems for a sustainable growth.
She said the Netherlands is gradually reducing its aid to Ghana and refocusing its efforts on building and strengthening trade relations and private sector initiatives.
“The agriculture sector, and in particular the vegetable sector, is an exemplary sector where Ghana and the Netherlands have much to offer to each other.
“The Netherlands is in the top-three of the world’s biggest exporters and Ghana has a huge potential for delivering top-quality vegetables to both the domestic and international market,” she said.?
It is reckoned that the potential value for export-vegetables in Ghana is estimated at US$250 million, as the sector is growing at more than 10 percent per year.
Currently, the country exports 15,000 tonnes of vegetables annually and imports US$85million worth of onions.
Credit: B&FT Ghana