In a groundbreaking initiative to fortify its horticultural sector and combat a hefty $3.4 billion import bill primarily composed of processed agrifoods, Ghana is forging a strategic alliance with The Netherlands.
According to mobile.ghanaweb.com, the Sahel region’s instability has intermittently disrupted crucial agrifood imports, such as Nigerien onions and Burkinabè tomatoes, placing Ghana’s food supply chain under duress. The collaboration aims to foster economic growth, improve nutritional intake, and create employment opportunities.
Jeroen Verheul, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, expressed concern about the insecurity in the Sahel and its detrimental impact on vital food imports during the Fruit and Vegetables Fair opening in Accra.
Ghana’s average consumption of fresh vegetables lags behind its regional counterparts, posing a nutritional challenge. A significant portion of the nation’s onions is imported, with Kumasi and Accra markets alone contributing to an annual import value of $120 million.
The Netherlands has been actively engaged with Ghana’s horticultural farmers and entrepreneurs, recognizing the sector as a key driver of economic growth. Economic growth, improved diets, and increased employment opportunities are the driving forces behind this partnership.
Ghana’s agricultural sector constitutes nearly 20 percent of its GDP and contributes over 30 percent to export earnings. The horticultural value chain, including tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra, plays a pivotal role in the economic landscape, boasting a growth rate of 10 percent.
Despite this growth, Ghana heavily relies on imports from neighboring countries to meet its agrifood demand. The Netherlands aims to enhance domestic production, reduce import dependency, and stimulate economic growth.
To address nutritional challenges, The Netherlands is collaborating on initiatives to boost horticultural production, reduce production costs, and make fruits and vegetables more accessible to Ghanaians.
Generating employment opportunities is the partnership’s third pillar. Both governments envision transforming agriculture, Ghana’s largest employer, by supporting small and medium enterprises in the sector. The goal is to create more jobs, stimulate economic growth, and facilitate industrialization.
The recently established Horticultural Business Platform (HBP) exemplifies these collaborations, bringing together farmers, cooperatives, governments, entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes, and private sector actors from both nations.
As Ghana strives to move beyond aid, The Netherlands commits to deepening the partnership, leveraging its position as the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter. With expertise, experience, and a wealth of agricultural products and technologies, The Netherlands aims to support Ghana in making substantial strides in its horticultural sector.