Let�s Add Value To Raw Materials Before Exporting � Spio Garbrah Advises

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has reiterated the need for Ghana to add value to its raw materials before exporting, indicating that the country will lose huge revenue if the trend continues.

According to the renowned businessman cum entrepreneur, “we are doing reasonably well as a country but we could do much better.

We have nontraditional export, a national export strategy and an export development program where we are hoping to grow our nontraditional exports from about GHC 2.5 billion to about GHC 5 billion a year.”

“To do that, you have to add value. If we continue to sell the raw material in its raw state, whether it is raw fish instead of smoked fish or canned fish or the raw cashew instead of the processed cashew or raw cocoa instead of the processed cocoa, you’ll not get the value that you need on the international market.”

Speaking on TV3’s New Day program, Dr. Spio-Garbrah indicated that “it’s been estimated that the farmer gets about 6% more from the processed raw material instead of just sending the material in its raw state, which means we are losing that differential. That goes for all the raw material just like gold.

“If you export raw gold instead of converting the gold into jewelry, then you are losing money because the raw gold can be sold at a maximum of about 1,000 or 1,500 at the world market but if you convert that gold into jewelry or something that people in the showbiz industry would wear, then immediately it becomes 20,000 or 30,000 or even 50,000 because it has a certain design or packaging value.”

The minister recently revoked a two-month old ban his outfit placed on the exportation of raw cashew out of Ghana that would have enable the cashew processing factories in the country to have access to raw cashew to process.

The initiative which was applauded by some industry players was not accepted by some of the farmers, and their representatives in parliament raised concerns over the trade ministry’s directive.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah has however indicated that the decision has been tabled for further discussion and would be implemented after further consultation.

Eleven out of the 12 cashew processing factories in the country have shutdown for lack of raw material to process whereas farmers prefer selling to neighboring countries and some individuals who export them.

The 12 cashew processing plants had an annual processing capacity of about 70,000 tons.

Tv3network.com has gathered that most of the exports go to India which is one of the highest importers of Ghanaian raw material.