Vietnamese investors, currently on a one-week working visit to Ghana, are seeking to establish joint ventures with Ghanaian partners in the production of tilapia, cashew and rice.
At a Ghana-Vietnam Business Forum held in Accra, on Tuesday, Dao Manh Duc, who is the second Head of Trade, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Nigeria, said the team is looking for opportunities in production, processing, and marketing of the said products.
The visit, facilitated by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ghana-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was initiated for both parties to strengthen the existing trade relations.
In 2015, Ghana imported about US$241million worth of goods from the South East Asian country. The major imported items included rice, garment products, iron and steel, fishing net, sea foods, tobacco, electronics, toothpaste, and computer and electronics.
About US$185million worth of rice; US$4.9million worth of computer and electronics; and US$2million worth of toothpaste were imported from the Island-nation into Ghana in 2015. Ghana, on the other hand, exported goods worth about US$137million to Vietnam in 2015. Major Ghanaian exports included raw cashew nut, timber and products from timber, sesame seeds, sea food, raw cotton, metal product, plastic, and other metals.
This comprised US$117million worth of raw cashew; and US$20million worth of timber and products from timber were exported to Vietnam.
Elvis Afryie Ankrah,a Minister of State at the Presidency said: “Government policy, these days, is to encourage local production of rice and reduce importation so as to reduce our balance of trade. Government is also targeting value added investments that will create jobs and improve technology transfer with our trade partners. We in leadership will lend our total support.”
Vice President of the Ghana-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Michael Ntim-Addo said: “Ghana has been producing and consuming rice for ages. Most of the rice consumed is imported from all over the world, of course, including Vietnam.”
“On the average, Ghana imports about 400,000 metric tons of milled rice every year, according to trade statistics from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This translates into some US$300million of business. So there is huge market opportunity there for traders in rice.”
He noted that as a result of government’s policy of encouraging rice production in recent times, there has been an upsurge in local production of rice and reduced importation. The reduced importation has also improved the country’s balance of trade and payments.
“At the moment, there are six large scale rice producers who may be consulted to discuss the prospects for joint ventures. Ghana has suitable arable land and labour for rice cultivation while Vietnam has the latest technologies for rice production. We are sure that when these two gigantic factors of production put their weight together, they can attract the necessary financial muscles from the banking and insurance sectors to produce the best rice the world can buy,” Mr. Ntim-Addo said.