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Business News of Thursday, 19 November 2015

Source: GNA

US keen on mutual trade opportunities with Ghana

Krysta Harden, United States (US) Deputy Secretary of Agriculture says his country is keen on exploring mutual opportunities for export of agricultural produce between Ghana and the US.

She said as much as the US is interested in identifying opportunities to export some of its agricultural produce to Ghana in particular and sub-Saharan Africa in general, it is also on the lookout for which products could be exported from the sub-region to the US.

Speaking to the GNA in an interview after a tour of the Tema Port, a cocoa farm and the Blue Skies fruit processing factory in Nsawam, she acknowledged Ghana’s need and desire to grow its own food, and said the US mission is not to displace what is already being done or the local farmers, but to complement each other.

Deputy Secretary Harden, is leading a delegation of leaders from the Departments of Agriculture of five states and 25 agricultural sector businesses from the US to Ghana, with a view to expand export opportunities for US food and agricultural products in the sub-Saharan African market.

She said the main products that the US is looking at exporting to Ghana are poultry and pork products.

She said, however, that trade has to be two ways, thus the mission is also looking at products that are not available in the US and which could be imported from Ghana and other sub-Saharan countries such as pineapples, mangos, bananas and other fruits.

“We are not about displacing your farmers but you have a lot of people who want food and need and it’s about building the capacity for all of us. There might be things that we produce that you don’t produce or don’t produce enough of to feed your folks and we can help with that. It’s a give and take,” she said.

Deputy Secretary Harden said this outlook on trade was the reason behind her tour of the facilities, since the Port is important as the entry and exit point for goods in and out of the country, while the cocoa farm and fruit factory had helped to understand how cocoa, a major import for the US, is grown and produced and also identify products that could be exported to the US.

At the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), where the Deputy Secretary and her delegation were briefed on the operations of the Port as well as expansions that are ongoing, she expressed satisfaction with the capacity of the Port to handle both imports and exports.

She said her delegation, which included leaders from State Departments of Agriculture: Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Texas, expressed satisfaction with the strength of the GPHA as an institution and its ability to prevent political interference in its operations.

Dr Richard A.Y Anamoo, Director General of the GPHA who hosted the delegation, said Ghana’s Ports in Tema and Takoradi are well placed to handle any business; exports to or imports from the US.

He noted that the Tema Port is currently expanding to increase its capacity to about three times its current capacity of 12 million tons, in order to better handle the growing traffic of goods at the Port, as well as to handle all types of goods including agricultural produce.

He said the first phase of the expansion was expected to commence in there first quarter of 2016.

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