The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, has revealed that due to some interventions the Exports Promotion Authority has embarked on, which includes the distribution of cashew seedlings, and pineapple suckers to farmers, Ghana has seen monumental increase of 10% in Non-Traditional Exports figures between 2017 and 2019.
Speaking on the Eye on Port program the head of GEPA attributed the successes choked so far in export not only to the work of her outfit, but also to the Ministry of Agriculture in its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs program which improved the export figures for cashew in particular.
“Cashew just went up by 23% and it is just because of the interventions that were made by the Ministry of Agric with the support of GEPA.”
She however lamented the raw state cashew is being exported and called for government’s intervention that would introduce regulations to ensure cashew and many other products of great value are processed to even add more value before exportation.
“We would make our case before government. We have about twelve (12) factories in Ghana processing cashew but now it is about only two (2) or three (3). They have all been closed down because the cashew is taken away before they can even be purchased to be processed in Ghana which is very bad for us,” she bemoaned.
The GEPA boss said, with the current industrialization agenda by government, it has been admirable to see young entrepreneurs muster enthusiasm for export oriented production.
“It is quite interesting how a lot of our young people are those coming up with these novel interesting products,” she expressed.
The CEO of GEPA, however bemoaned the inadequate funding available for young entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions to grow their businesses that would go a long way to contribute to national development in the export sector.
She added that even though her outfit has worked closely with both the Export and Import (i.e. EXIM) Bank and some other private banks to grow export base of the country, inadequate financing within the export sector still remain a major bane.
“EXIM is the bank that supports exports and imports. Sometimes they support us but everybody goes to EXIM so they are overwhelmed sometimes, and they can’t do everything but they try as much as possible to support the export industry as we do our bits as well,” she explained.
She praised the President of the republic’s strategic reactions to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses, pointing out the stimulus package offered to Small and Medium Enterprise where she revealed her outfit is contributing to help coordinate its dissemination to some export producing enterprises which may have suffered as from the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The President in his own wisdom has released some funds to help SMEs where most of our people are in. So hopefully they’re all going to be cushioned a bit. We are working with NBSSI to ensure that our small businesses enjoy from this.” The GEPA Boss expressed optimism.
Meeting Market Standards
Dr. Afua Asabea Asare however emphasized the need for Ghanaian entrepreneurs especially the young ones looking to export, to register with GEPA who would not only apply their expertise in marketing products overseas but will provide them with the right industry standards to help them penetrate the international market.
“We are out there telling them that they should come for us to support them. Some are coming, others wait when they go out there and they fail, they come to us. We don’t want them to fail before they come looking for us,” she asserted.
She revealed that her outfit is collaborating with the Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority to improve the education on preservation and packaging of products to meet international requirements.