While the global spice market is projected to exceed over $10 billion by 2019, Ghana cannot play an active role in this business venture because 90 per cent of spices found in the country is imported.
At the Nima market which has about 50 per cent of items being spices, the brisk spice business is however associated with the high foreign exchange, which affects the businesses of these traders.
The Nima market houses the biggest spice market in Ghana on Wednesdays. On Mondays and Tuesday, the streets of Nima are choked with heavy trucks of goods mostly spices ready for business.
Majority of these trucks are from other African countries.
Spices are dried parts of plants that usually have strong and special smells which comes from different parts of a plant like the seeds, fruit, roots, bark and stems.
Despite the challenges these traders face to import spices from other countries, the spice business here in Ghana seems to be lucrative.
A spice trader, Nimatu Ali said the business in Ghana is lucrative but complained of high import duty.
“We have difficulty importing our products here in Ghana. The duty is high and the exchange rate makes it worse,” she lamented.
The common spices found at the Nima market are bay leaves, ani star, rosemary, negro pepper and cloves. Others are garlic, ginger, nutmeg, coriander among other spices and all these spices are imported from other countries.
Unlike the market women who heavily depend on foreign spices to ply their trade, the country indeed grows spices and even exports them.
Esther Asante is the owner of Organic trade and investment. Her online company exports indigenous Ghanaian products including spices.
According to her, the Ghanaian spice farms are organic hence the inability for Ghanaians to even appreciate their own products.
“My company has taken upon ourselves to promote indigenous products which are organic and also to thank our farmers who are doing a great job”, she added.
She, however, lamented about the difficulty in exporting her products to other countries and therefore called on the government to make the export duty of their products cheaper and easier.
For years, Africa has been an important player in the global spice trade. Currently, the African continent produces less than 10 per cent of the spices produced worldwide.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA), some of the leading producers of spices in Africa are Nigeria, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana.
Although the soil and climate in many parts of Africa are favourable to growing spices, the continent is yet to fully exploit this huge business potential.
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