The Ghana Green Label Secretariat has called on all farmers to sign onto the Ghana Green Label certification scheme for guidelines to produce quality and safe fruits and vegetables for public consumption.
Since its existence in 2016, the Ghana Green Label serves as the only local certification scheme that exists in Ghana.
This was announced during a consultative workshop that brought together all major industry stakeholders to create a platform for open communication with the secretariat in furthering the scaling up, entrenching and expanding the reach of the Green Label Scheme.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat, Mr. Anthony Tamakloe, noted that the main objective of the workshop is to bring together all the stakeholders in the fruit and vegetable sector to create awarenesss on Ghana Green Label’s market entries.
He said with this achievement, Ghana Green Label seeks to scale up by engaging more processers and producers and more retail outlets.
“So it’s a good time for us to bring together all the various stakeholders along the value chain and seek their view on what they are doing and they can also give us their recommendation such that whatever we implement is aligned to their mode of operation in order to be in sync with what they are doing”, said Mr. Tamakloe.
Some major issues discussed at the workshop centered on certification, traceability, transportation, labeling and marketing.
He added that the secretariat will also increase income levels of producers and other value chain actors by more than 5% and create market demand for Green Label Certified produce through effective marketing
According to Mr. Tamakloe the Secretariat, so far, has been able to deliver safe and affordable fruits and vegetables first up.
“Apart from Green Label, there is no other thing for you to be assured of that the fruits and vegetables that you are consuming is safe enough for your consumption. The only way we can ensure food safety is that we start eating right from the farm. We are also ensuring that once you are also implementing all the protocols, what is coming out is safe enough”, he added.
He also revealed that the secretariat is embarking on the agenda to facilitate certification of 30,000 producers, 40 processors and 500 retail outlets on the Green Label certification scheme by 2022.
The Ghana Green Label project is supported by the HortiFresh project, a programme aimed at establishing sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Currently, the Hortifresh project has provided substantial funding to support certification of some selected farms and packhouse, improve security feature of the label and to also sensitize the public on the need to buy and consume certified fruits and vegetable produce on the local market.
Over the past one year, the Secretariat has put in place the necessary systems to ensure successful implementation of the scheme. So far, the secretariat has engaged 3 international certification bodies; Control Union, SGS Ghana and Smart-Cert Ghana to provide auditing services.
Also, twelve agronomists have received training on the Ghana Green Label Standard (GS 1054) to assist farmers in implementing the requirements of the standard.
The Executive Secretary noted that Giz has provided six month media publicity campaign support to educate the consuming public on the need to buy and eat certified fruits and vegetable of same quality as those exported to the EU market.
All farmers and processors interested in implementing good agronomy and distribution practices, are encouraged to contact the secretariat.