The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghana-India Trade Advisory Chamber (GITAC), to build synergy that drives agribusiness growth and increases trade between the two countries.
According to the parties, the MoU’s main components include connecting investors from India to farmers in Ghana for financial investments and business-to-business transactions; increasing trade volumes between the two countries; and introducing more advanced technology in the agribusiness sector to enhance mechanical farming and efficient processing of farm produce.
Chief Executive Officer of CAG, Anthony Selorm K. Morrison, speaking to the media on the side-lines of the signing, stated that aside from the low use of advanced technology in agribusiness to produce in large quantities, low yields per acre and post-harvest losses are very worrying; and so the partnership seeks to address such critical challenges as well.
“Upon foundation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA), we have identified that there will be challenges in the agriculture sector; and we have realised that we should be able to makes funds available to farmers at lower cost. We need to be able to drive-in critical investment across the value chain; covering post-harvest, processing, production, and value-addition among others.
“When it comes to technology and skills, we are handicapped; and these are the areas which investment can help us to address in order to be competitive in AfCFTA. We hope this agreement will promote exchange programmes in the areas of business to business, agro-tourism, agro-education, and technology-drive,” he said.
He also emphasised that the country has underemphasised technology, losing track of how adoptable and suitable the technology is to the end-users – a reason why the chamber is advocating for the setting-up of a Ghana Agriculture Technology Centre (GATC), to be as a demonstration, approval and maintenance/repairs centre. This, he said, is necessary because farmers sometimes buy technology and do not have the technical know-how to operate it; or how to access spare-parts when it develops faults.
President of GITAC, Dominic Oduro-Antwei, on his part indicated that India is one of the largest agribusiness technology hubs in the world, and also has a huge market for Ghana’s raw materials as well as low cost of credit – which agribusinesses can tap to increase production.
“We have indicated that agribusinesses need machinery to operate on a large scale, and those machines are very expensive; so farmers do not have the capacity to buy outright, and what we seek to do is bring in an investor from India who will give you those machines to use and pay later, after you have benefitted from the machinery to increase production.
“For instance, India buys a lot of cashew from Ghana; so in terms of trade and investment, we can look at how to get Indians to invest more in our cashew farms or get involved in the cashew value chain and at the end get a ready market from them for the produce,” he said.
He further indicated that India has the numbers in terms of population which translate into markets, and that is potentially a strategic partnership that would help advance options in the agribusiness ecosystem.