SMEs dev’t: FDA supports first-ever factory for physically challenged persons

Mrs. Delese Darko, CEO, FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has assured its support for companies and entities working with persons living with disability (PLWD). Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Delese Darko, said the support is meant to ensure the growth of local businesses and offer unending opportunities and hope to all physically challenged persons across the country.

She made this remark recently at the launch of the National Social Development Awards and launch of the first-ever factory for employing persons living with disabilities by the Ghana Dreams Disability Development Foundation (GDDDF).

The event had two objectives: first to reward and promote persons who have contributed greatly to social development in the country; and secondly to launch and raise funds to support the maintenance of machines and other logistics for the Foundation.

The GDDDF, a local natural fruit-juice beverage producer located at Kasoa-Ofankor, is set to officially begin operations in December this year. For a start, the foundation will employ 60 people of which 40 are physically challenged. At full capacity, GDDDF will employ a total of 5,000 disabled persons to work in various departments of the factory.

Physically challenged and disabled people are one of the largest oppressed groups in Ghana. There is an estimated 8 million disabled people living in Ghana, forming almost 20 percent of the 30 million population. Currently, only one percent of physically challenged are in employment in Ghana. They comprise mental health patients, the visually impaired and the physically challenged.

Though government introduced a policy to employ 50 percent of all physically challenged people at the various toll-booths across the country, the number of such persons overwhelms the total number of toll-booths – which hovers at a little over 200 in Ghana.

However, this initiative by the GDDDF, supported by the FDA, is in line with government’s flagship One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative, and is touted as one of the surest measures to reduce the percentage of unemployment among physically challenged people in Ghana.

Addressing dignitaries at the launch of the factory, Mrs. Darko pledged the FDA’s support through technical supports and reduced fees to help facilitate the growth of local industries, particularly those which employs the physically challenged.

Mrs. Darko advised the foundation to ensure they adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices. She said it is the FDA’s priority that every enterprise with a PLS licence will progress from their current level to the advanced level, as this will contribute to making the industrialisation agenda a reality in Ghana.

Richard Offei, CEO and Founder of GDDDF, expressed gratitude to the FDA for the PLS innovation that has enabled the smooth and gratis registration of their natural fruit-drink product.

Indeed, the GDDDF is part of the FDA’s Progressive Licencing Scheme – of which 56 SMEs were licenced in July this year to produce local products which meet international standards to generate employment, earn income and boost the fortunes of SMEs.

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