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Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) has held an information session for exporters in the food and vegetable sectors in Ghana to facilitate their access to international markets.

The event, which is part of the SIPPO’s sourcing mission, was attended by members from the Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Sea Freight Pineapple Exporters of Ghana (SPEG) and other interested producers.

SIPPO, a division of OSEC, the official Swiss foreign trade promotion agency, works with SMEs in developing countries to help them gain access to the Swiss and European markets by providing information, training courses and matchmaking services at international trade fairs.

Participants at the event were introduced to SIPPOs activities and partners in Ghana. Mr. Anthony Sikpa, President of FAGE, Mr. Kwamina Benson, West Africa Coordinator of Fair-Trade and Mr. Kwamina Amoasi-Ando, Project Coordinator for SCORE- a project aimed at improving SME competiveness through improved production and work friendly environments, were among the presenters at the event.

The event’s primary objective was to inform participants about how they could participate in the 2013 Fruit Logistica Fair-an international business and communication fair for fresh produce trade, which will be held in Berlin, Germany in February 2013. Other presentations were on the topics of SME Certification and Market Access and as well as improving competiveness through improved production and work friendly environments.

“Accessing the international market for our fresh produce has been a challenge; however, through our interactions with SIPPO, we are making headway” Mr. Winfred Gelli, Director of Elikem Welfare Association, a farmer group association remarked. He added: “Hopefully our participation in the 2013 Fruit Logistica Fair will open more opportunities for our member farmers to sell their produce.”

Mr. Jonas Spahn, Project Manager, Fruit and Vegetables at SIPPO said “with the help of the GEPC (Ghana Export Promotion Council) and the Fair-trade Africa we are able to meet numerous representatives of SMEs in Ghana. We have already met some very capable candidates for our programme and we are looking forward to collaborating with Ghanaian enterprises, facilitating market access and sharing our knowledge in market SMEs products at trade fairs”

“I am very happy this event has taken place in Ghana” Ms. Brigitte Cuendet, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland said. “Integrating Ghana into the global economy is one of the primary objectives of Swiss Economic Development Cooperation and this event will help exporters take advantage of market opportunities elsewhere” she added.

The workshop was co-organized by the Embassy of Switzerland which represents the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). SECO implements the official Swiss Economic Development Assistance to Ghana. Switzerland’s assistance to Ghana concentrates on economic and trade measures in four main domains i.e. sound macro-economic policies and transparent public finances; financial sector development and strengthening; trade, competition and investment climate and basic infrastructure regulation and public utilities in energy.

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