Accra, Sept. 09, (GNA) – Ghanaian participants at the just-ended 84th Izmir International Fair in Turkey have commended the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) for facilitating their participation in the fair, which saw some of them clinching deals with some Turkish companies.
Speaking to the GNA in an interview, Mr. Samuel Kobla Wede, Managing Director of Alpha Samuelson Enterprise, a Ghanaian company specializing in Bee-keeping and the production of honey, said the fair had been successful beyond expectation for his company.
“Coming to the fair has given us the opportunity to obtain certification for Halal, Kosher and Organic for our products,” he stated, explaining that while the Halal certification allowed them to sell food to the Muslim community, the Kosher allowed them to sell to the Jewish community.
Alpha Samuelson Enterprise, he said, was also in talks with the certification body based in Izmir-Turkey to be its official representative in Ghana.
He also lauded GEPA’s initiative in arranging contacts and successful discussions with relevant companies for exhibitors.
He said that SepeNatural Organic Products Industry Trading Corporation, a Turkish company that produces bee products and herbal supplements, had expressed interest in working with his company by having them to supply the company with honey and beeswax.
“We also had a meeting with the Izmir Bee Keepers Association and have been invited to an exhibition and meeting of Bee Keepers in Turkey in February 2016,” he said.
Mr. Wede noted that although traffic at this year’s Izmir Fair was a bit slow compared to China last year, the timing of the fair, starting at 1600 hours to 2300 hours was perfect as it gave them the chance to have meetings with their Turkish counterparts.
There was also an improvement in the organisation with the provision of pull-up banners and glass display cases for exhibitors to display their products in.
Madam Fati Issah, co-owner of Alagie and Fati Company Limited, producers of Shea Butter based cosmetic products including shower gels, hair and body creams, said the fair had been successful for them; have gotten an order of a 20-foot container of their products by a Turkish company, and other possible contacts.
She noted, however, that it would be more helpful for the exhibitors in future, if they were allowed to sell some of the products which they take to the fair; especially as many of the visitors to the stands were interested in buying some there.
“This is our third time at the Izmir Fair and this is the first large order we have received” he said.
According to Mr. Samuel Nii Quarcoo, Chief Executive Officer of Quin Organics, which produces organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and juices for export, said the company’s expectations coming to the fair was to find buyers for its lime juice and essential oils as well as dried orange and lemon peels and organic yams.
He noted that although Ghana was one of the largest exporters of conventional yams, Quin Organic was the only company exporting organic yam that meet US and UK standards and certified by the Control Union of the Netherlands.
He said there had been an enthusiastic response from the Turkish public when it fried some of the yams for tasting, but added there was the need for more awareness creation in the Turkish market as they were not familiar with it.
Mr. Quarcoo said they had identified some contacts for some of their products like the essential oils, which were mainly for industrial use and were working on cultivating the contacts, which included SepeNatural.
He noted that language was a major barrier in breaking into the Turkish market, adding that it would get a representative in Turkey to address that problem.
“This was our first time at the fair. We will follow up on the contacts we’ve made and will participate in the fair next year.
“We needed to have done the fliers and pull-up banners in Turkish, as not many people at the fair are able to read English so we will do that next year” he said.
Professor Dominic Adotei Edoh, Executive Director of the Centre for Plant Medicine Research, a public institution mandated to research into plants to show whether they are efficacious as medicinal plants, and first time exhibitors at the fair, expressed surprise at the visitors’ interest in herbal medicines for specific ailments such as prostate enlargement.
He noted, however, that although there were similar products on the Turkish market, they were packaged as food supplements and not as medicines, an option which the Centre may consider in trying to export to that country.
“We will prefer to link up with a Turkish company to market the products in Turkey and SepeNatural has expressed interest and wants to come to Ghana soon,” he stated.