WITH Ghana expressing an interest in local timber and rum industries, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, believes that Guyana has the required standards and quality to meet the demand of the African nation.
On Tuesday afternoon, Guyana proudly showcased to President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and his visiting contingent, what Guyana has to offer in this regard.
The contingent are on a State visit aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two nations.
Accompanied by Public Telecommunications Minister, Catherine Hughes, the contingent visited the Umana Yana for an exhibition showcasing Guyana’s multi-use forests and products of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and Banks DIH Limited.
Upon his arrival at the Umana Yana, President Akufo-Addo was able to peruse an array of durable Guyanese woods and byproducts in the form of furniture and craft.
Received and guided through the display by Minister Trotman, the visiting President was well-informed of the array of timber in Guyana and the country’s ability to produce timber products.
“His Excellency, David Granger asked me to arrange a small exhibition so that his counterpart from Ghana could see what works we have in terms of wood, not just logs but timber species, furniture, floor boards, ply wood etcetera,” Trotman told reporters following the walkthrough.
He explained that Ghana has suffered a severe depletion of its forest resources and therefore the area of trade is one of interest to President Granger.
According to Global Forest Watch (GFW), remote sensing and satellite data from the University of Maryland estimates that there was a 60 per cent increase in Ghana’s primary rainforest loss in 2018 compared to 2017.
Ghana’s rainforest is now being depleted at an alarming rate which is highest in the world.
Trotman stated that he is confident in the quality of wood and furniture produced by Guyana and believes that these can be of value to the African State.
“From the little that was heard, His Excellency [President Akufo-Addo] is very impressed and we do have a high standard here. Anyone witnessing would see that the standard is exemplary,” Trotman said.
He added: “I have no doubt that we can meet international standards. We are meeting standards in Europe and North American already; our wood goes to Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, so meeting standards in Africa should be attainable.”
He said given that the two Presidents signed bilateral agreements earlier on ease of air travel and greater collaboration between investment agencies, suggests that the decades-old bond shared between Guyana and Ghana is being strengthened.
At the end of the tour, Trotman presented a wooden clock and a carved wooden photo as gifts to President Akufo-Addo.
He also presented gifts to four members of the delegation, namely Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Botchwey; Minister of Energy, Peter Thomas Amewu; Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi; and Ghanian High Commissioner to Guyana, Abena A. Busia.
Prior to visiting the Umana Yana, President Akufo-Addo was also taken on a tour of the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and Banks DIH Limited.
Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency in Guyana, Joseph Harmon, told the media earlier in the day that Guyana is looking to expand its business in rum following an expression of interest by Ghana.
“… the important thing is that we are looking to expand in business. The Ghanaians had an interest in our rum industry, so this afternoon the President [of Ghana] would be visiting Banks DIH and DDL to look at some of our rum,” he earlier stated.
DDL is an internationally-recognised producer of award-winning rums with a range of over 20 different varieties of premium, standard and specialty products, all with the distinctive Demerara ‘stamp’ of quality and flavour.
Banks DIH Limited is one of Guyana’s main beverage companies which also produces food products and manages restaurant operations.
President Akufo-Addo ended his business day with a meeting with the Ghanaian diaspora and representatives from African groups and organisations in Guyana at the Marriott Hotel.
The President and his team are expected to depart Guyana today.