Horticulture sector actors need constant dialogue – Mr Tooren

Accra Mr Anjo Van Toorn, the Country Director of the Netherlands Development Organisation, has called on horticulture sector actors to constantly dialogue to market their products and services.

He said new dimensions of scaling up, innovation, and partnerships were been triggered to take the sector to the next level.

Mr Tooren was speaking at the HortiFresh Business Platform Meeting, which coincided with the launch of the 2019 Horticulture Business Opportunities in Ghana Report and the HortiFresh Awards in Accra.

The HortiFresh Business Platform Meeting is an event organised quarterly to bring together key service providers, producers, processors, traders, wholesalers and retailers in the fruit and vegetable sector in Ghana.

On the other hand, the report presents the state of the art of the horticulture sector in Ghana and lvory Coast.

He said the reports were part of their gift to the sector and this was the third in the series counting from the first in 2014, then 2016 and now 2019.

He said the report highlights gaps in the sector in Ghana, which could easily be turned into profit making venture to develop the industry.

The Country Director said HortiFresh, through their Platform Meeting, would continue to serve as a pedestal to create visibility for business enterprises and create more linkages for growth for local entrepreneurs to thrive.

Mr Tooren said the HortiFresh programme aimed to develop sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, as well as food and nutrition security.

He said as they partner the public sector to enhance the conducive business climate for entrepreneurs to be dynamic, the latter on the other hand were encouraged to actively take leaps towards being competitive in both the domestic setting and the global horticulture space.

Ghana is moving away from a traditional and relationship, to one of long-term trade, presenting avenues for private sector to thrive, he added.

Mr Joep van den Broek, the Vegetable Advisor, HortiFresh Programme, said the report analysed opportunities in the fruit sector, vegetable sector, competitiveness of the vegetable sector, access to finance, roadmap for pest reduction in fruit and vegetable exports in Ghana.

It also looks at pesticide choice and use for vegetable production and Onion variety trials.

On access to finance, he said in 2019 and 2020, HortiFresh was looking to upscale its exporter-outgrower financial product to benefit a lot more companies in the sector.

He said to this end, HortiFresh was partnering with financial institutions both in Ghana and outside to provide various financing solutions.

Interesting companies seeking to move to their next level of growth can contact the team at HortiFresh for further information, he added.

In the area of pest reduction in fruit and vegetable exports, the Advisor said the report recommends that exporters and their out-growers have to strictly follow these pest reduction protocols in the field and packhouse to ensure commodities for exports were free from pest, especially those of quarantine importance.

He said the Onion variety trial was to evaluate the growth and yield of six hybrid onion varieties and two local controls in the three zones of the country.

He said the report recommends that seeds should be stored in a cool place preferably in a refrigerator to ensure that they remained viable over a reasonable period of time.

Mr Broek said per the conclusions, the potential for Onion production in Ghana was quiet high provided supplementary irrigation could be provided when necessary and adequate pest and disease control were put in place.

He said the six hybrid varieties produced higher yields than the local checks, Bawku Red and Reds Creole, however, storage may be better in the local checks than most of the hybrids.

The winners for the HortiFresh awards were: A.B Farms Best Vegetable Booth; Famklass- Most Innovative Product and Services; Hendy- Best Packaged Product; Ropryn-Best Fruit Booth and the Agritop-the Overall Best Booth.

Source: Ghana News Agency