HSFI project to provide microloans to food vendors

Head of Food Safety Management at the FDA, Jocelyn Adeline Egyakwa Amusah, addresses stakeholders

Street Food Vendors (SFV) are expected to benefit from a microloan scheme provided they meet all the requirement in the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA’s) newest campaign, the Healthy Street Food Incentives(HSFI)Project.

According to the head of Food Safety Management at the FDA, Jocelyn Adeline Egyakwa Amusah, the food vendors will be entitled to microloans if the project progresses well.

She explained that the project will be leveraging on a scratch-card system to generate revenues to support food vendors who in the long-term will need some form of financial assistance.

Speaking at a Food Safety sensitisation workshop for street foot vendors in Accra, she said: “As the project progresses, there will be enough funds to improve social infrastructure and resources; such as providing microloans, clean water sources in the street, create mechanisms for supplying inexpensive fruit and vegetables all year round, and to improve waste disposal services”.

CEO for FDA, Delese Darko, indicated that the main aim of the HSFI project is to improve the safety of street food by developing a resource-efficient food monitoring and inspection system for street food vending in Ghana – to increase the number of vendors with vending permits who are compliant to good hygienic practices(GHP) and increase the sale and consumption of fruit and vegetables.

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“My appeal to all vendors present here today, whether or not you are being enrolled on this project, is to make food safety a key priority in doing your business; from the purchase of raw materials at the markets through transportation, preparation and serving consumers.

“This l believe will strongly help in reducing foodborne disease outbreaks within the country and improve Food and Safety and Nutrition in the street food vending industry; while they increase their customer base along with their income and consequently improve the national economy,” she added.

The pilot project is under the auspices of FDA and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), which intends to make the street food safer and more nutritionally balanced beginning from Korle Klotey Metropolitan Assembly.

Three areas under the Korle Klotey Metropolitan Assembly include Osu, Ringway and Ministerial and Tema Station.

Additionally, after the two-year pilot phase, it is expected to be rolled out through the municipalities and across the country.

It also seeks to address many of the challenges facing the street food sector – more specifically to develop a resource-efficient food monitoring system, stimulate the demand and offer of safe and nutritious fruit and vegetables.

The project is also designed to motivate street food vendors to register and generate revenue to the sector.

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The vendor is expected to gain official recognition as a street food vendor, a free apron, free training in good hygienic practices; vendors also stand a chance of getting a model kiosk at the end of one year.

Among the requirements for registration as a food vendor is that the person should be 18 years, a food vendor, and should have operated as a food vendor for not less than a week.

After registration, the person is assigned to a group depending on the type of food being sold, and the vendor is required to attend a one-day training by the FDA on food safety and nutrition.

Officials of FDA will also score the vendors after inspection, with the highest score being granted two stars in addition to a Street Food Vending Permit (SFVP), free veronica bucket provided before the person is deemed as a compliant vendor and qualifies to be part of the project.

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