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Business News of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Source: The Finder

Imports now hit mangoes, pineapples

Alistair Djimatey

The declining fortunes of agriculture, which does not seem to be attracting the attention of policymakers, have now compelled Blue Skies, the biggest fresh fruit processor in the country, to import pineapples and mangoes for processing.

The company also imports mangoes for eight out of the 12 months in a year from countries such as Brazil, Senegal, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and South Africa.

Blue Skies imports mangoes from Brazil for 11 continuous weeks, and the cost of chartering an aircraft to airlift 100 tonnes of mangoes a month is $250,000.

It means the company spends $2.750 million as the cost to charter aircraft for the 11 weeks; aside paying for the mangoes.

Not only has the situation resulted in the creation of jobs for the economy of countries where the imports are coming from, but also contributing to the free fall of the cedi as millions of dollars are spent on the imports.

Locator Map of Ghana

Fruit processing companies, including Blue Skies, have been importing indigenous Ghanaian pineapple, smooth cayenne, from Togo and Ivory Coast for the past two years while mango is imported from Brazil, Senegal, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, and South Africa.

Pineapple-exporting companies have dropped from 36 eight years ago to just about five currently.

Map of Ghana

Chief Agronomist at Blue Skies, Mr Ernest Adjei Abloh told The Finder in an interview that his company imports 25,000 pieces of Smooth Cayenne from Togo and Ivory Coast, out of the 80,000 pieces of Smooth Cayenne pineapple processed a week.

Currently, he said the company also imports 100 tonnes of mangoes from Brazil every week, and the cost of chartering an aircraft to airlift the mangoes from Brazil to Ghana alone is $250,000 per flight.

The company airlifts mangoes for 10 weeks from Brazil, mainly due to inadequate local supplies from the sub-region, especially during the crop’s off-season.

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