Export-ready SMEs to benefit from CBI’s Ghana Dried Fruits Project

Export-ready Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Ghanaian dried fruits sector are to benefit from a one million euro Ghana Dried Fruits Project by the Netherlands Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI).

The project will help Ghanaian SMEs to improve productivity, meet quality food safety and sustainability requirements, obtain relevant certification (food safety, sustainability) and be introduced to European buyers.

Other benefits are improved marketing and sales capabilities, organising and participating in joint export shipments and employing talented young people in their businesses.

Ms Afke van der Woude, CBI Programme Manager, speaking at the launch of the Project, said CBI would offer technical assistance through practical business export coaching.

The four-year project is for Ghanaian companies active in the processed fruit and vegetable sector with products like dried mango, dried pineapple, dried coconut, and other dried fruits.

She said it would prepare companies with the skills and knowledge they needed to enter the European market and support them with joint export shipments.

She said the Project would include individual company coaching provided by international and local sector experts, help to create an international go-to-market strategy and advice on what certification was suitable for the market entry strategy.

The Programme Manager said it also included coaching on certification, helping to improve responsible business conduct, links to EU buyers and importers, and potential participation in relevant trade fairs and training on specific topics.

“Topics to train the SMEs on are food safety standards, marketing, packaging, costing and pricing, and Corporate Social Responsibility,” she added.

She said the country could compete on the international market since the demand for the commodity was high in the EU market.

She said currently, a few partly foreign-owned companies dominate the Ghanaian dried fruit sector, and the Project would enable the selected SMEs to grow their exports and generate job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth.

She said CBI wanted to address the challenges the sector faces in Ghana such as supply chain inefficiencies, issues with raw materials inputs and gaps in skills and technology.

The Programme Manager said for this, the solution would be sought in the local market to create job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth in the sector.

“CBI will work with educational institutions to forge linkages between recent graduates and companies in the sector,” she added.

Madam Woude said CBI would partner with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the facilitation of the Project.

Mr Bram van Opijnen, the First Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, said the Project was part of a larger endeavour to support growth and create job opportunities for the youth in the horticulture sector.

Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of GEPA, commended the CBI team for the project that would enable SMEs to enhance their capacity to export more and grow the Ghanaian economy.

She said the Authority was currently implementing the Youth in Export Programme and urged the team to extend support to these young people, who have an interest in the agribusiness sector.

Mr Samuel Nii Quarcoo, a Representative of the Ghana Dried Fruits Sector, expressed excitement about the Project, which would boost the Ghana dried fruit market.

He said the project would ensure that players in the sector do the right things to help them harness their potential in the market.

Source: GNA

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