I arrived in Accra, Ghana Thursday morning October 14 to attend the National Food and Agriculture (FAGRO) Show. Today was an interesting and eye opening day in many regards.
AdFarm and Praxis Strategy Group have been working with agriculture groups in Ghana, Africa since 2008 on a range of projects. I’m here this week with Dr. Delore Zimmerman of AdFarm partner company Praxis Strategy Group, and Tony Mensah-Abrampah of affiate, Praxis Africa. Today was my first opportunity to engage with the business of agriculture in Ghana.
We spent several hours at the FAGRO show today interacting with exhibitors and attendees. We also had a full schedule of meetings with local and regional Ghanaian government services offices to discuss producer education and market expansion opportunities. In addition, we made a visit to the American Embassy in Ghana. All interesting and necessary in our efforts to help Ghanaian agriculture develop ties and markets in North America.
Ghana is considered the gateway to Africa based on its strong agrarian roots and stable political environment. Ghanaians take great pride in their sincere and trustworthy nature and work hard to preserve their reputation. We did hear of late that scam artists from other African countries have begun to take advantage of the good Ghanaian reputation by moving into the country and undertaking fraud-based schemes from a Ghanaian address. The people of Ghana are very bothered by this, and from what we learned today, the U.S. government is working very hard to protect U.S. based businesses from the scams while doing their best to preserve trade opportunities among Ghana and North America.
Agriculturally, Ghana remains primarily focused on providing products for human consumption. Citrus, mango, pineapple, cocoa, rice and maize are the staple crops. Many exhibitors at the FAGRO show are featuring processed foods of some nature for sale directly to consumers or to grocers. We were fortunate to see some very interesting products including ASUMSA Organic Drink, a preparation from the Manchurian Mushroom that is high in B-vitamins and folic acid and used as a nutritional tonic.
One of the significant take-aways from today’s events was the understanding that Ghana has not developed markets for industrial or livestock use of agricultural products. As we are well aware, there is great opportunity for crop growth expansion once you reach beyond strictly human consumption. We did hear of one company that is contracting with local growers to raise “yellow corn” for livestock feed, but it has been a challenge. That company can actually import yellow corn for less cost than sourcing it locally, but they are trying to help build a local market. An honorable quest.
There is tremendous opportunity for both business education and production agriculture education in Ghana. And it appears that there is significant governmental support from Africa and North America to see education and development continue. Our first full day in Accra was a blur – filled with interesting conversations. Looking forward to experiencing more over the next three days.
Signing off from Day 1 in Accra, Ghana…