The total amount for the importation of machines and equipment for processing of food and beverage in West Africa increased by 16.7 per cent from €534 million in 2017, to €623 million in 2018.
It is an indication that policy initiatives by various governments targeting industrialisation and production than export of raw cash crops or commodities were yielding the desired results.
Data released by the German Engineering Association (VDMA) showed an annual growth of 7.8 per cent between 2015 and 2018.
The Managing Director, Fairtrade, Mr Paul Marz, in his opening address at the 6th agrofood and plastprint, West Africa, Conference, provided more figures to indicate the upsurge in West Africa’s plastic, printing and packaging technology imports over the past few years which is translating to high growth rates in GDP.
He noted that import of plastics technology was up 22 per cent in 2018 to €219 million, while printing and paper technology recorded 15 per cent increase at a value of €107 million
“Imports of packing technology made up for €307 million, up 8.4 per cent compared with €283 million in 2017. Apart from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana Guinea, Senegal Mali and Burkina Faso are the major importers.
“Food and drink production in West Africa, especially Ghana is becoming more and more important because until now food and drinks are still being imported in large quantity instead of using the very good agriculture production that Ghana has and process this agriculture production into high level quality product, packed and sold properly on the market.
“What we have here today is technology leaders from 17 countries displaying technology that enables Ghanaian producers to package in a suitable way and sale on the international market properly, and we need something like this going on in Ghana now for producers to harness the technologies to scale up and package properly,” he said.
The West Africa 6th International Trade show on Agriculture, Food Processing, Plastics and Packaging, held at the Accra International Conference Centre this year, is represented by seven country pavilions namely; China, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Morocco, with 80 exhibitors from 17 countries.
The Director for Domestic Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Ntim Donkor, in a speech read on behalf of his minister, stated that government has identified the agro-processing sector as one of its priority industries as it seeks to diversify the economy.
He indicated that the sector has the potential to; reduce post-harvest losses, increase nutritional values, increase market opportunities for exports, improve income securities and promote employment generation.
“The sector has been selected as a response to transforming the agric sector, namely agric-produce, forestry, poultry and fisheries into exportable value added products,” he said.