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Horticultural Exports Receive Boost   
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The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) are to support Ghanaian horticultural and natural ingredient sectors to export to markets within the European Union.

Under a four-year CBI programme, which is to be implemented in collaboration with GEPA, producers and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables will be offered assistance to establish sustainable trade relations with European importers.

Products to benefit from the programmes include pineapples, mangoes, papaya, vegetables as well as botanical raw materials and medicinal plants.

The Programme Manager of the Centre, Ms Lieke Voncken, said the CBI Export Coaching Project would focus on sustainable export development and export promotion to the European market.

She said 50 producers from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal would benefit from the programme, adding that the number of producers selected from each country would depend on the quality of the proposals received.

Indeed, in this, Ghana can get more producers joining the scheme provided they meet the criteria, she said after a meeting with some exporters in Accra.

The programme will help to address internal challenges of selected companies and obstacles in the business environment.

Ms Voncken explained that the coaching given to the qualified companies would help them overcome their internal obstacles, prepare them and increase their chances of finding European trading partners and increasing their exports.

To qualify for the programme, the company must be at least 51 per cent locally owned, employ about 25 to 500 employees and show willingness and the capacity to invest in adaptation of product assortment and production processes, among other things.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of the GEPA, Mr Stephen Normeshie, said the CBI programme would help increase Ghanaian exports to the European market.

He said the coaching would also afford the producers the opportunity to learn and adapt to the demand of the EU market, especially certification for products.

Mr Normeshie lauded the partnership between CBI and GEPA which started since 2008, saying it had helped the authority to enhance service delivery to exporters, modified the mission and vision as far as meeting the needs of exporters were concerned.

GEPA and CBI have in the past five years implemented a Business Support Organisation Development programme for the benefit of GEPA and the Ghanaian exporting community.

For the most part, the activities centred on capacity building for the GEPA management and staff to enhance their competencies in delivering enhanced services to exporting companies, especially in providing market entry assistance for exporters to access the European market, which is the largest market for Ghanaian exports.
Source: Graphic Business

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