Government has put in place adequate measures to ensure that vegetables from Ghana are not ban from entering the European Union (EU) market again. Ghana suffered a-two-year ban on export of some selected vegetables into EU, after high numbers of harmful organisms were detected on them.
The ban was however lifted on Tuesday November 7, 2017, after EU officials carried out an inspection in Ghana from September 12 to 21, 2017.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto yesterday told journalists that the two year ban denied the economy of Ghana precious foreign exchange earnings and said Ghana intends to increase the volume of trade now that the ban has been lifted.
He said as part of government’s efforts to ensure that access to the EU market hindered, the ministry intends to enforce all export procedures.
Additionally, he said government has initiated new reforms such as restructuring the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) into an autonomous authority to be more efficient in the management of the vegetable sector.
He warned that only exporters whose out-grower forms have adopted protocols for controlling false codling, moth and other pest and certified by PPRSD would be allowed to export chillies.
“We are also moving our inspectorate division onto the farmers’ field to ensure that the produce that come out of the farms meet certain international standards even before the products leave the farm to be exported,” he added
Dr Akoto noted that the ministry has stepped up technical training for its Plant Inspectors with hands on training programmes to build their capabilities with the support from experts of sanitary and phytosanitry
He said that at the time of the ban, Ghana’s exports to the EU was $18million per annum saying “I am sure that had it not been for the ban the export earnings would have been higher in the past two years. Now that the ban had been lifted we will ensure that the vegetable subsector plays its rightful role in getting exports earning from agriculture right to the top.”
He said the ministry was making a lot of efforts to expand the vegetable market, indicating that the vegetable market was the gold end or highest end of the market “a tonne of cocoa now fetches $2,000, but a tonne of tomatoes or chilies can fetch $10,000.”
“There is a need to focus in the area, it is going to yield so much benefit far more than any other group of crops, and because it is of high value it is the area that is attractive to the youth and will help to solve the unemployment among the youth especially those who are not skilled,” he stated
The Agric Minister said it was for those reasons that the ministry has included vegetables in the five first crops that have been chosen for the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
“With the lifting of the ban we are back to normalcy and we will take advantage of it to expand the vegetable export,” he stressed.
Dr Akoto said the ministry would continue to be vigilant, strengthen and deepen the reforms they have embarked upon.
He added that they would continue to ensure that the measures that have been put in place would be strictly adhered to for the country’s continuous access to the EU market.
Source: The Finder