Farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain in Ghana and other African countries have been urged to pay better attention to countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait among others, as export destinations.
Currently, Ghana’s top export destinations are India, China, Switzerland, Netherlands and South Africa.
The comments were shared by stakeholders at the Accra launch of 2019 Meet the Farmers Conference which will come off from the 27th to the 28th of November in Dubai.
In an interview with Citi Business News, Bola Oyedele who is a Business Consultant with Crenov8 Consulting, the organizers of the 2019 Meet The Farmers Conference which is under the theme ‘Creating a Sustainable Future’, said Ghana can improve its export earnings if it targets countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait.
“The reason most farmers in Africa have not been taking advantage of the GCC area is because of a lack of information. For a lot of people, that area is strange to them. We are now empowering our farmers with the needed information and urging them to export their food to the desert area where it is needed the most. The market is there so it only makes business sense to explore it.”
The ”Meet the Farmers Conference” which will be held in Dubai, UAE will feature media events across 12 African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Angola, Congo DRC and others from the Middle East – Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, India and the UAE.
Now in its third edition, the conference is a first of its kind Agro-trade and networking conference connecting Africa and the Middle East. According to Crenov8 Consulting, the aim is to connect large scale Agro commodity producers to buyers alike.
Stakeholders from Africa and the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) will come together during the 2-day event to network, collaborate, and form sustainable business partnerships across borders.
The Head of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce Office in Ghana, Cyril Dakwa on his part, expressed the need for farmers to add value to their produce in order to earn more.
“When you look at the whole tourist atmosphere in Dubai, for example, it presents a huge opportunity. We are not only looking at getting farmers to export raw materials, but we are also trying to encourage the off-takers in Dubai to partner some of these farmers and companies, invest in them, upgrade them so that they can get a steady flow of high-value products from the African region. We want to see value-added products being exported to the GCC region from Africa.”
On the part of the farmers, Enoch Osafo said, the challenge with securing affordable credit to expand their operations and also export to new markets continues to be a challenge. Enoch Osafo is a cashew farmer and the secretary to the Future Leaders in Plantation Association, a farmer-based organization in Asante-Akyem Agogo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
“Farmers are willing to expand to meet the demand in areas such the GCC, the only challenge is the lack of financial muscle. Our plea to government and other stakeholders is for them to collaborate with smallholder farming groups and support them with cheap loans to enable them to expand their farms and export.”