Ghana’s economic growth over the past 20 years has generated opportunities for further growth as well as new challenges. Consolidating the country’s economic gains and ensuring continuing inclusive and sustainable growth that targets the rural poor now depend on its ability to add value to agricultural produce and reach out for export markets.
UNIDO, with funding from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is deploying several important initiatives to assist Ghana in selected agro-based sectors. This intervention has identified Ghana’s main know-how challenges as: (i) developing and implementing standards to assure the quality and safety of its agricultural products; (ii) building laboratory testing capacity for these products to ensure they meet international requirements; and (iii) establishing a product traceability system to provide market confidence, particularly for export buyers.
To meet these challenges, UNIDO has cooperated with the Ghanaian Government to:
- Strengthen Ghana’s Standards Board’scapacity to develop and publish standardsfor selected export products;
- Train Ghanaian enterprises on the adoptionof priority public and private standards;
- Establish a national traceability system forhorticultural products;
- Upgrade laboratories to meet theISO/IEC 17025 accreditation standard;
- Strengthen the nominated European Union(EU) Competent Authority in the field ofhorticulture.
As a result of these interventions, local producers now have standards that govern both the quality and the safety of their agricultural products. Their exports can betraced back to the farm, and the source of any non-compliance with standards and safety requirements quickly identified. They receive reliable certification services for ISO9001 and ISO 22000 management systems at affordable prices, and inspections of their products are conducted according to the best international practice. Assuring food safety is a key priority.
Ghana’s newly strengthened quality infrastructure draws on the best international methods to test food, beverages and drinking water for toxins and pesticides. This, together with recently introduced legislation, marks a major step towards ensuring the safety of food from microbiological and chemical contamination at all stages of the food chain. An added bonus is the low cost oftest services provided by local accredited laboratories – expensive re-testing in buyer countries is no longer required, and the delivery time for results and any re-samplingis significantly reduced.
The enhanced export capacity of Ghana’s agro-based sectors will generate new market opportunities that will lead to a diversification of the country’s export base. It has the potential to emerge as a market leader, particularly in supplying food products to the EU. The broader framework of this assistance is also especially beneficial to Ghana, where a majority of the population lives in rural areas and is dependent on agricultural production and exports.
For more information, please email:
Juan Pablo Davila