Agriculture trade between the US and Ghana hit 300 million dollars during the year, the United States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky, said on Wednesday at the end of a trade mission to West Africa.
US export of agriculture products to Ghana for the period, he said, was 101 million dollars, which is about one-third of the trade volume between the two countries.
“Two-way trade between Ghana and US is around 300 million,” the deputy Secretary told journalists in Accra, noting “US export share of that is 101 million”.
The US is currently seeking to increase its export to Ghana and the West African sub region, as part of which Mr Censky led representatives of over 40 American companies on a trade mission to West Africa.
Based in Ghana, the mission held over 487 meetings with buyer delegations and government officials from Cote d’iviore, Gambia, Nigeria and Senegal with the view to fostering new opportunities in the sub region.
According to the US, strong economic growth in the sub region is driving demand for American exports of food and farm products, especially readymade food.
West Africa’s import per year stands about 10 billion dollars and the US’ share of that is around 500 million cedis.
On the back of that, Mr Censky stated the US is working towards providing the import needs of Ghana and the entire West African bloc, saying “so we are interested to meet[ing] those import needs; whatever they are”.
The Deputy Secretary said while the US is pushing for a larger share of the agriculture export market in West Africa, it is also supporting the domestic production.
“From the US Department of Agriculture, we’ve been working to try to help farmers farm sustainably for many, many years. Part of our work is helping them, to adopt new farming practices…” Mr Censky said.
He said the trade mission for the three days, had “very good discussions”, and talked about “the complimentary role of trade in supporting domestic production as well as imports”.
US invested $50 million
The US has pumped over 50 million dollars into Ghana’s poultry industry in the last four years under the USDA Food for Progress programme.
Ghana’s agricultural production, according to US Department of Agriculture, “is too small to satisfy this demand for meat”.
The investment, Mr Censky said, went into increasing production, feeding and technology as well as in promotion of eggs.
“And it’s been a success; we have seen Ghanaian poultry production increasing. I think that is a good example of not only we interested in exports but we are also interested in helping to make sure that Ghanaian agriculture succeeds”.
Ghana and West Africa, he said, have to welcome new technologies in the agriculture sector.
“I think as West African nations work to develop their agriculture systems …and that comes to using new technologies, new seeds, improved livestock genetics, it involves new management techniques and technology,” he said, production will be boosted.
These areas, he noted, are where “the investments are being made”.
He said people may not be seeing the successes because “it’s probably not happening as quick as people would like, but I do think it is happening”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana