Ghana hosts first-ever Horticulture Expo      

By Lydia Kukua Asamoah

Accra, July 10, GNA – The first-ever Ghana Horticultural Expo 2024, has opened in Accra aiming at harmonizing efforts at enhancing growth developments in the horticulture sector. 

This is expected to be achieved through information sharing, policy advocacy, creation of market access and the impartation of sustainable farming initiatives for value added growth. 

The three-day event, being organized by the Federation of the Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) and partners, runs from July 9 to 11, at the Accra International Conference Centre. 

It is on the theme: “Celebrating Ghana’s Horticultural Diversity; Produce Quality, Export more”. 

FAGE, the USAID Feed the Future-Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI) Activity, the GiZ, the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk sharing system for Agric Lending (GIRSAL) and the Fidelity Bank of Ghana are the collaborators of the Expo. 

The expo brings together farmers, exporters, representatives from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), horticultural business sector players, experts and innovators, financial institutions, and development partners to observe demonstrations of horticultural products and practices. 

They would also establish business connections, provide valuable insights into the latest trends and technologies, and create interest in the horticulture sector, especially among the youth.  

There would also be workshops and panel discussions for participants to observe and engage in. 

The U.S. Government, through the USAID is supporting the Expo with over one-million Ghana Cedis ($85,000).    

“By funding this event through the Feed the Future GTI Activity, we aim to enhance collaboration among stakeholders, increase private sector involvement in food security initiatives, and empower enterprises to position themselves as engines of growth in Ghana’s economic transformation agenda,” Mr Andrew Read, USAID Ghana Economic Growth Office Director said at the opening ceremony.  

“Improved horticulture means more fruits and vegetables in your home gardens and at the farmer’s market, providing improved access to critical nutrients for a balanced diet,” he added.  

In a speech read on behalf of Osafohene Dr Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer, GEPA, she said the Authority was happy to be collaborating with all the stakeholders in organizing the maiden Horticultural Expo. 

“It is indeed a proud moment for us in GEPA to be part of this great initiative. Our excitement stems from the fact that this event would position Ghana as the destination for horticultural produce on the continent.  

“This expo is not just a showcase of our produce but a testament to the hard work and dedication of our farmers, agribusinesses, researchers, and policymakers. It is a celebration of their relentless efforts to cultivate the land, nurture crops, and innovate to improve quality standards.” 

Dr Asare urged the industry players to endeavour to produce quality produce, saying by adhering to stringent quality controls and sustainable practices, “we ensure that Ghanaian produce not only meets but exceeds international expectations.” 

In 2023, Ghana recorded Non-Traditional Export revenues of USD 3.9 billion representing an impressive growth of 11.75 per cent and contributing 24 per cent to total merchandize exports. The Agricultural sub-sector continued to make significant contribution to total NTE earnings, accounting for a 12.57 per cent share in 2023. Thus, the sector remained a vital part of Ghana’s export portfolio, Dr Asare noted. 

Mr Davies Korboe, President of FAGE, explained that the horticulture sector in Ghana was not merely about crops; but also, about livelihoods, economic growth, and sustainable development that contributed substantially to the economy through agricultural expansion. 

The cultivation of staples such as tomatoes, onions, and peppers alongside high-value crops like pineapples, mangoes, coconuts and citrus fruits, roots and tubers essentially underscore the sector’s dynamism and potential.  

He said Ghana raked in about $3.94 billion in 2023 in non-traditional exports, about an 11 per cent increase over the 2022 record.  

“According to GEPA, it is projected to hit $25 billion by 2028. With the service sector still dominating in terms of GDP’s contribution to the national economy, the revelation, while impressive, put the agricultural sector at 19.57 percent with about $495.8 million to the national GDP.  

He, however, noted that despite the rich diversity of Ghana’s horticultural sector, local farmers were grappling with challenges in seizing market opportunities. The fierce competition from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Niger, especially in the production of onions and tomatoes were a stack reality.  

Notwithstanding the implementation of various development initiatives over the past decade, adoption of modern agricultural practices had lagged.  

Mr Korboe called for investment in equipment such as small-scale irrigation, sustainable farming practices, improved seedling technology that would greatly increase the quality and yield of farmer’s production. 

“Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from both public and private sectors, focusing on value chain optimization, quality control, and market promotion.”