Top officials of Ghana and Kenya gathered here on Monday to find ways of deepening trade relations between their two countries as well as intra-African trade.
This follows immediately after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries during the visit of Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama to Kenya last December.
Opening the conference, which is being run alongside a trade exhibition by companies from the two sister countries, Ghana’s deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-charge of Livestock, Hanna Louisa Bisiw, said a lot needed to be done to sustain the benefits of agriculture for Africa.
“As most African countries largely depend on their agriculture sectors to lead the transformation of their economies, provide food security for their populace, raw material for industry and create jobs, we cannot but strive to improve productivity and markets to be able to sell our produce competitively,” she stated.
The deputy minister said the achievement of those objectives would only be possible through bilateral cooperation as the two countries had enough technology and research that could be shared for their mutual benefit.
The deputy minister also listed items that could be exported from Ghana to Kenya in a bilateral trade.
She told the Kenyan delegation that Ghana had more agricultural products beside cocoa that could be exported to their country, while Kenya also exported coffee and tea as well as livestock products to the West African country.
“With cocoa, there are other products apart from the powder. There are different types of beverages, cosmetics and liquor.
“We also have both fresh and many processed products from plantain, yam and cassava that we can trade with Kenya. Similarly, we can buy tea, coffee and livestock products from Kenya,” Bisiw stressed.
Total non-traditional export from Ghana to Kenya in 2014 totaled 236 metric tons valued at 1.3 million U.S. dollars, with agricultural products constituting only 14. 5 percent.
Leader of the Kenyan Delegation, Anastacia Kiio, said technology exchange was the key driver to agriculture development.
“The two sister countries have a lot to borrow from each other, especially in some key value chains where either country has comparative advantage over the other,” she stated.
Kiio cited the example of cassava production and processing for export, palm oil industry and marine fish processing that Kenya could learn from Ghana, which, on the other hand, could learn from Kenya’s cooperative marketing approach using small-scale tea value chain model which is widely appreciated.
An exhibitor, Nasra Ali (Ph D), Managing Director (MD) of Kaldi Africa, who spoke to Xinhua, saw her company’s participation in the exhibition as a privilege.
“What we are basically looking at as a company is to foster more of the intra-African trade. As a company, what we do is, we have Kenyan coffee, but the value addition is done in Nigeria. I think that is a very important aspect,” she said.
She added: “The importance of value addition, where that is done, I know a country like Ghana will not want to be a trading country. The idea is really to add value, whereby we enjoy each others’ products but at the same time we create employment for our brothers and sisters.” Enditem