14.04.2005 Business & Finance

Belgian senator promises more market for Ghanaians fruits

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Accra, April 14, GNA - A visiting Belgian Senator, Mr. Arnold Van Aperen has promised to assist local producers of mango, orange and pineapples to have access to Belgian and European markets due to their high quality.

"The Ghanaian fruits are of high quality having tested and tasted them, but what I found during these few days of my visit is that most of the fruits after harvest go bad because there is no ready market for them," Mr Van Aperen said.

"In Belgium and in Europe, there is ready market and part of my mission to Ghana is to build synergies with the relevant state institutions in order to help the farmers market their produce and improve upon their income levels."

The Belgium Senator, who is also the Mayor of Hoogstraten, announced this when he called on the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh Ibrahim C. Quaye.

Mr. Van Aperen said there was need to work out modalities to improve upon the packaging of the produce.

"But with oranges we would bring in the requisite technology to extract the juice before export. Whereas Belgium and other European companies need the fresh fruits to manufacture their juices and other fruit drinks, in Ghana heaps of harvested fresh fruits go bad because of lack market for them."

Mr Van Aperen also promised to woo his country's government to vote some resources devoted to assist vulnerable and needy communities in developing nations for borehole water projects in Ghana.

Besides, he said, he was prepared to assist the Greater Accra Regional Minister's campaign against the spread of malaria. He said through the ingenuity and effort of two Ghanaians in Belgium he had supported education and sports in Larteh in the Eastern Region.

Mr Van Aperen said the project in Larteh saw the building of a computer centre, a library, volleyball and basketball courts with the keen support of the youth in Belgium.

Sheikh Quaye thanked the Senator and welcomed the idea to assist Ghanaian farmers to market their produce in Belgium and Europe. He said government had done a lot to assist its local producers and manufacturers by providing the needed environment for businesses to thrive but the issue of market access still remained a great challenge. The Regional Minister said with this collaboration, he hoped a lot would be achieved to put a smile on the face of the Ghanaian low-income farmer.

Sheikh Quaye said Ghana under the administration of President John Agyekum Kufuor had achieved a lot as far as the economy's macroeconomic indicators were concerned and that the country was ripe for private investment.

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