GHANA - Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney has been travelling around West Africa on a trade mission, and last week he stopped in Ghana to look at opportunities for Irish beef exports.
Speaking from Accra, the Ghanaian capital, Mr Coveney said “Ghana has for many years been a peaceful country in the midst of conflict in West Africa. Ireland congratulates the people of Ghana for choosing the path of democracy and setting the bar in terms of governance in the region.
"It is also a country which is now firmly established as one of our key trading partners. It has particularly grown in significance in recent years such that it is now one of our primary non-EU export destinations.
"My visit here will be about exploring further opportunities for cooperation between Ghana and Ireland across a range of sectors from agri-food to energy to education.”
The Minister met with his Ghanaian counterpart, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Hon. Fifi Kwetey. This was followed by an event with Irish beef exporters who are doing business locally.
Commenting on this event Mr Coveney said: “Expanding opportunities for Irish meat exports so that we can diversify our markets has been one of my key priorities since becoming Minister.
"Ghana is now a significant market for Irish meat with exports of €8m of Irish beef last year and €2m of Irish poultry. This makes Ghana one of the leading beef export destinations outside the EU after the US, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
"I took the opportunity to discuss this when meeting with my Ghanaian counterpart and to raise some technical issues which I believe could facilitate even more trade.”
Mr Coveney also visited the region of Tamale in Ghana for meetings with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and to view local agriculture initiatives which are helping to boost food security in the area.
The visit to the WFP centre was the first since the announcement in September by the Minister that his Department has committed to increasing its funding to the WFP to €60m over the next three years.
Commenting on the work being done there, the Minister said: "Ireland is a long term partner of the WFP in the areas of nutrition and agriculture. It has been very worthwhile to meet those involved in running these programs while here."
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