On 20 June 2014, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, has launched four business initiatives of GhanaVeg. GhanaVeg is a program coordinated by Wageningen UR’s Centre for Development Innovation that supports healthy and quality vegetables from Ghana through new ways of doing business.
The initiative provides opportunities to vegetable companies in Ghana, enabling them to boost production and sales for both the domestic international markets.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in Accra, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, said that "The quality of the agriculture sector in Ghana depends on the collaboration between stakeholders and to innovate in better managing the vegetable chains". She recognized that there is much potential for the vegetable sector to grow in Ghana. And that much is required to ensure investments in high quality seeds, careful follow-up in the different production steps and developing markets that pay for quality products.
The Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR coordinates the GhanaVeg Program, partnering with IFDC and NABC. In the program Wageningen assists innovative entrepreneurs in expanding their business and linking them to key players in the chain. GhanaVeg facilitates so-called Business Platforms, a high-level Public-Private Dialogue and assists selected individual companies with agronomic and business know-how and matching grants.
Under the program four business plans were awarded in the first round, of which two presented their business case to the Minister. For Catherine Krobo-Edusei of Eden Tree, a big vegetable wholesaler in Accra, the grant will support her in working closely together with 120 farmers. Eden Tree will enter into contractual arrangements with the farmers who receive assistance in terms of: quality seed, agronomic training and certification. The second company, Tikola, is an agent of East-West Seeds and, through the fund, will expand its reach to 50 well-trained agrodealers in the major vegetable producing regions. Mr. Idris Egala of Tikola mentioned that he will develop 19 demonstration sites and reach more than 4,000 farmers with superior vegetable seeds. The targeted farmers are expected to increase their productivity by 30-50%.
Red chili pepper seeds
During the ceremony Minister Ploumen, Cathrine Krobo-Edusei and Mr. Idris Egala, symbolically planted the seeds for the two initiatives. They planted the popular East-West red chili pepper variety Demon F1. The Minister said: “Like these seeds, I expect your business initiatives to bear many fruits!” Ms. Cathrine and Mr. Idris responded in unison: “We will not let you down, Minister!”