20 September 2018, Accra. Ghana and Ivory Coast are to experience a boost in horticultural production and exports, with the launch of the HortiFresh West Africa programme. The programme, supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra, aims at establishing a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security.
The launch of the programme took place on Thursday 20 September at La Palm Royal Beach Resort. At the occasion, the Deputy Minister for Horticulture, Mr. George Oduro and the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Mr. Ron Strikker, cut a mango cake to officially launch the programme. The programme is being implemented by a consortium of Wageningen UR, SNV, Resilience, Advance Consulting and SENSE.
At the event, the programme Manager, Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah presented the core activities, which include the support for innovative business ideas of small and medium enterprises and the development of strong horticulture clusters in key tomato, onion and mango production areas. Through these activities, the programme wants to reach at least 15,000 smallholder farmers by 2021, with a 20% increase in their productivity.
A first case in point was presented during the launch; as a Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Fruitmaster, Rabobank Foundation and HortiFresh to develop a 5,000m2 greenhouse in the Volta Region. In the Cooperation Agreement the three partners commit themselves to the financing and technical support for quality production of tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers for the national market, employing at least 25 new staff that will operate the greenhouse and grading facilities. For HortiFresh and Rabobank Foundation the pilot forms the start of a longer-term partnership, through which a number of projects, particularly those with an emphasis on smallholder farmers, will be supported.
HortiFresh succeeds the GhanaVeg programme which was implemented between 2014 and 2017. GhanaVeg supported more than 30 innovative projects that were implemented by lead companies. At the launch two of the most successful companies, Eden Tree Limited and AB Farms, presented the results of their GhanaVeg projects. Through the collaboration, both companies were able to double their revenues and work closely with more than 50 outgrowers each.
Also speaking at the function was the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Mr. Ron Strikker. He affirmed The Netherlands’commitment in moving from aid to trade and highlighted the key role of the private sector in this. He especially mentioned opportunities that focus on improving food safety for the domestic market, better quality and added value for export markets. He further called on the financial sector to prioritize the horticulture sector in their loan portfolio; as the programme has identified many reliable companies with profitable business projects.
During the launch, a Call for Concept Notes was announced, inviting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to submit innovative business ideas that promote the sustainable uptake of inputs like quality seeds and irrigation equipment. The Call also solicits concepts that focus on the provision of agronomic services, like professional spray and extension advisory services.
The full call for concept notes can be found at www.ghanaveg.org/grants.
HortiFresh is a programme 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 programme’s mission is 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 aims to reach 15,000 farmers and increase their productivity by 20% by 2021.
The HortiFresh programme consists of two components: fruits and vegetables. In Ghana, attention will be given to the fruit and vegetable sectors while focusing on other regional fruit supply chain dimensions in the surrounding countries like Ivory Coast. The objectives include improving productivity in the vegetable sector; facilitating more efficient markets, including linking vegetable producers and other value chain operators with the Dutch private sector; improving the business climate and further professionalizing the value chain for vegetable production and consumption in Africa.
The programme succeeds the GhanaVeg programme that was implemented from 2013 to 2017 with the aim of developing a competitive and sustainable vegetable sector in Ghana. GhanaVeg supported 30 innovative projects that were implemented by lead companies. The programme worked on a number of issues in the enabling environment, ranging from phytosanitary issues to food safety, addressing environmental concerns, and increasing public awareness on health and nutrition. GhanaVeg organized 20 well-attended Business Platform meetings in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale; which further reinforced sector partnerships and business to business trade deals. HortiFresh will further build on these achievements and will continue these activities.