Italian Trade Agency revs up efforts to boost Ghana-Italy trade

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A group photograph of the participants at the Macfrut fair

The Italian Trade Agency (ITA), an agency under the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has rolled out a series of initiatives to boost trade relations between Ghana and Italy.  

The initiatives include two strategic interventions aimed at supporting agribusiness companies in Ghana to improve their business operations as well as connect with counterparts in the European Union market through Italy.

The two initiatives namely, the E-Lab Innova Training programme and Macfrut Fair, have helped several agribusiness and export companies in Ghana improve their operational processes and connect with partners in the EU market.

This was disclosed by the Director at the ITA, Mr Alessandro Gerbino in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

E-Lab Innova

He said the aim of the E-Lab Innova training programme was to equip participants, mainly agribusiness companies in Ghana, with technical and managerial skills in order to support their access to the European Union market.

The programme, launched in partnership with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) also aimed at fostering business partnerships with Italian companies and improving the Ghanaian value chain and local industry development and employment.

He said other objectives included promoting technology transfer and innovation on the model of Italian agribusiness districts and fostering opportunities for technical industrial partnerships with Italian companies.

He noted that the project was part of a greater effort put in place by Italy in Ghana to boost economic ties with Ghana, particularly in the area of agrobusiness.

He said 19 agribusiness companies benefitted from this initiative.

Macfrut Digital Fair

Mr Gerbino, said Macfrut, which was one of the world’s largest fruit and vegetable fair, hosted its first ever digital fair for vendors and buyers from around the world.

He said the Cesena-based fair, would have in normal times, brought the 530 exhibitors, 600 buyers and over 4000 visitors to the Italian town but this year had to adopt an innovative digital approach in the face of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

He said the fair, which was held in partnership with the Italian Trade Agency, was to give fruit and vegetable producers around the world – including Ghana – a chance to show off their products, find new markets and build connections with other suppliers along the value chain for their mutual benefits.

Over the course of three days, he said exhibitors were able to browse these digital stands and asses the quality of produce on offer from the vendors. Exhibitors also had an exclusive forum via which they could schedule and hold business to business interactions with other producers during the period of the fair.  

With the support of the ITA, Ghanaian fruit and vegetable producers were able to participate in the fair and exhibit their products.

These exhibitors, like their counterparts from countries from all five continents including Africa who took part in the fair, were able to find new markets for their products as well as forge new partnerships that will enable their businesses to grow.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, one of the Ghanaian participants, Mr Prince Manu Yeboah of Ropryn Company Limited, said being of the fair has propelled his company’s ambitions to export to external markets.

He said it also afforded his company an opportunity to engage with some of these potential buyers and partners and he believes that there will be very positive outcomes to the interactions that he has commenced on the back of the fair.

Enormous benefits

Mr Gebino, said this new perspective of trade between the two countries would have enormous benefits for the two countries.

He said while the benefits of these interventions would take some time to fully manifest, it was already apparent that the Italian Trade Agency is fast becoming a formidable force for good in Ghanaian-Italian trade relations and its efforts ought to be commended.

“In the words of Ms. Opoku, one of the beneficiaries of these two interventions rolled out by the ITA, the agency through its interventions “can help bring together trade partners that will benefit both Ghana and Italy,” he noted.

Source: Graphic