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25.03.2006 Business & Finance

Govt to attract more foreign investments into agric


Asegya, Gyakiti (E/R), March 25 GNA - Mr. Ernest Akobor Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture on Saturday expressed government's determination to attract more foreign investments into the agriculture sub-sector to provide employment opportunities to the teaming youth in the rural areas.

He also urged foreign investors to take advantage of the good business and political atmosphere prevailing in the country to invest in other sectors of the economy.

Mr. Debrah was speaking at the launch of a two million dollar Bio Exotica Organic Pineapple Project at Asegya near Gyakiti in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

The Bio Exotica high value organic horticulture is a joint venture project between Dutch and Ghanaians investors and the first large-scale organic pineapple farm in the country.

Mr. Debrah assured pineapple exporters that the Ministry was going to convert Shed Nine at the Tema Harbour into a fruit terminal with storage facilities to make it easy for them transport their produce to the European market.

He called on the management of the company to set-up out-grower schemes for the farmers in the area in order to improve their livelihoods.

" We must not only be interested in the business aspect of the project but to also look at the welfare of the community in which we work," he said.

The Minister pledged to ensure that the main Akosombo -Gyakiti road that is in a deplorable state was rehabilitated as well as extend electricity from Gyakitikrom to the project site.

Mr. Debrah also called on the people in the area to bury their political and other differences and work together in peace. Mr. Robert Van Der Laan, Managing Director of Bio Exotica said the reasons for locating in Ghana was that the country had a good business and political climate with already booming pineapple industry and the entire logistical chain to carry fruit in refrigerated vessels to destination markets.

He said organic pineapple had the most promising niche market on the European fruit markets with growing demand but fewer suppliers. He said their principal market partners have already signed letters of intent regarding volumes and prices and are clamouring to have their fruits as quickly as possible.

Mr. Van Der Laan also said organic agriculture was best suited for sandy loam soils which were isolated from the conventional agricultural activities and population pressure.

He said most of the project initiators have been involved in various investments for development activities in Ghana and other parts of the African continent and knows each other very well. "We know our markets, we know the possibilities that the country offers and we are committed to its development".