The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna has hinted of plans by the EU to lift the ban placed on the export of some vegetables from Ghana last year, because the produce did not meet the required quality standards.
According to him, though there is a huge market in the EU for Ghanaian produce, the union will not compromise on quality standards.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the latest development, William Hanna explained that the EU is currently assisting local farmers through its Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE) to ensure that they meet the standards.
“The market is there; the consumers in Europe are very interested in by Ghanaian produce but you’ve got to get the quality right. One of the problems we had last year was that a few vegetables were not meeting the right quality standards for the European markets; unfortunately we had to ban those vegetables,” he stated.
William Hanna added, “…But the good news is that we are working together to try to ensure that they do meet the standards.”
On how the TRAQUE program is helping local production, the EU Ambassador intimated,
“The TRAQUE project is giving assistance to Ghanaian producers to know what the standards are and to meet them and I’m hopeful that the project will assist the producers so that we will remove that ban.”
In 2015 the EU threatened to sanction Ghana over some worm-infested vegetables to European markets which did not meet the EU markets standards because they were rotten by the time they arrived at EU.
Government subsequently banned the export of such produce.
Prior to this, Ghana had been slapped with a three months ban in 2014 after the EU intercepted some vegetables containing harmful organisms.
The three-month ban was to be lifted at the end of September 2014 when adequate corrective measures were implemented.
Measures to ensure compliance
The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) was tasked to investigate the reasons for the non-compliance of the EU plant health requirements.
The directorate was to implement adequate corrective measures to ensure the listed consignments were exported free from any harmful organism.
They were also expected to enforce the Plant and Fertiliser Act 2010 which mandated exporters and other value chain actors of plant products from Ghana to register.
The directorate was also mandated to ban exporters of fresh vegetables not belonging to any registered association recognized by PPRSD and sourced from the unregistered farms.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana