A business survey conducted to assess the level of competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture sector indicates that over 80 percent indigenous agribusiness export firms are internationally certified as against 54 percent for non-exporters.
This was contained in a local business intelligence survey jointly conducted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) and Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) – representing exporters and manufacturers respectively as well as the Ghana Investments Promotion Centre (GIPC).
What this implies is that such indigenous agribusiness firms produce good quality products which enables them gain beneficial access to foreign markets.
This market access has been spearheaded by the Ghana Export Marketing and Quality Awareness, which promotes exports of non-traditional agribusiness products. One major component of its project includes training and capacity building to acquire certification – a key condition for access to foreign markets.
According to the report, their level of competitiveness derives from two main factors in the business environment namely, access to electricity and water. With respect to the former, about 76 percent of the surveyed firms reported that they have “very good” access to electricity whiles only 5 percent of the firms reported otherwise. With regards to supply of water, more than 52 percent indicate that they have “good access” to water supply whiles 12 percent reported otherwise.
Players in the agribusiness sector are of the view that the competitiveness nature of indigenous firms should propel enormous investment into the sector.
In March this year, Government presented a far-reaching 10-point business reform plan to major stakeholders aimed at creating a radically more business friendly regulatory environment put together by a multisectoral technical team from various Ministries, Government Departments and Agencies.
The reforms were purposely structured to make Ghana an easier haven for doing business and seek to make the country more attractive to investors, both local and foreign. Access to electricity as well as reduction and automation of the steps to getting electricity was one of the 10 points unveiled.
It is important to note that such areas have been highlighted in the business intelligence survey which would in turn enable a substantial number of investors in the country.
A number of factors including vast arable land and suitable climate make Ghana attractive for investment in agribusiness. The agricultural sector employs more than 50 percent of the working population, accounting for nearly 20 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in 2017.