The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have hosted a forum to review progress made on the development of a pilot food safety and certification system in Ghana.
Developing a sustainable traceability system was a crucial recommendation that supported lifting the ban on exports of five vegetables from Ghana to the European Union in December 2017.
Based on recommendations from audits conducted by the European Union; the two institutions partnered to develop and pilot the system for Ghana’s horticulture sector. The objective of the pilot system is to mitigate and identify when and where food safety and quality issues occur.
The one-day forum was therefore organised to solicit feedback from public and private stakeholders on the pilot system including development partners, farmers, and the private sector.
It sought to expose the various stakeholders to the traceability system as developed so far for piloting, as well as provide us the opportunity to contribute our suggestions/recommendations, and agree on next steps
Director of the Economic Growth Office, USAID Ghana, Kevin Sharp, in his remarks, indicated that developing an internationally-recognised food safety system will help strengthen commercial trade both locally and on the global market.
He said: “This forum highlights our shared agenda to foster broad-based economic growth and trade. Our aim is to ensure that we achieve measurable impact and sustainable results—this means more competitive Ghanaian products being traded world-wide.
These efforts include establishing a strong food safety and certification system to identify and track problems along Ghana’s value chains.”
According to Mr. Sharp, the strategy closely aligns with government’s priorities— particularly, reducing reliance on foreign assistance and for that matter contribution of the various actors will help reduce barriers to trade and improve Ghana’s expansion into new markets abroad.
“We believe that all stakeholders can provide a valuable contribution to Ghana’s prosperity and growth. Therefore, we envision a partnership with local stakeholders taking the lead in solving Ghana’s development challenges.
Building an effective and efficient food system is a step in the right direction towards ending Ghana’s reliance on aid, and promoting the livelihoods of hardworking farmers and other producers,” he said.
He added: “This is a platform for building partnerships and supporting the sustainable development of Ghana’s traceability system.”