At nearly 40% of GDP, agriculture is the largest sector of Ghana’s economy. As a big part of this, the vegetable sector has the potential to create as many as 20,000 skilled jobs and increase exports to the EU. However, the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) are regularly notified by their European counterparts that quarantine pests are present on Ghana’s vegetable exports, leading to bans on certain exports and a loss in revenue to the country. Vegetable exports have therefore drastically declined because of the failures in food safety and phytosanitary issues.
This project aims to work with the entire supply to establish an effective SPS system. This public-private partnership builds on the existing phytosanitary system and aims to develop Ghana’s technical and organizational capacity for core phytosanitary competencies related to export.
To do this, CABI’s team will work to strengthen the responsible government institutions so that they can provide regulations, protocols and standard operating procedures. We are also setting up phytosanitary surveillance systems for the horticultural sector, and overcoming phytosanitary problems in the vegetable sector through Good Agricultural Practices in order to regain export markets in the UK and the Netherlands.
With partners, we plan to develop a new supply chain of organically certified produce from Ghana to Europe, and will do this by helping importers develop strategic alliances with producers and exporters in Ghana. Technical expertise in country (producers and exporters) will be enhanced to meet the quality standards required.
Project outputs to-date have been effective. After agreements were signed, CABI worked on actions raised from an audit from the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE). In 2017, through the project’s activities, and in collaboration with stakeholders, the European Commission ban, imposed in 2015, was lifted. A management plan for the four quarantine pests (False Codling Moth, Whitefly, Thrips and Fruit flies), frequently intercepted by EU markets, was developed.
Training materials were created to train vegetable producers/exporters, aggregators, inspectors, agricultural extension agents on the management of the pests and distributed to other stakeholders in the vegetable industry. Technical staff from the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX), selected PPRSD staff and university students were trained on monitoring, data collection and analysis, scouting techniques, and reporting, and, as a result, now monitor insect pests in selected vegetable growing areas.
With the project’s support, Quin Organics, a lime exporter, has obtained its GlobalGAP Certificate, and several GAVEX members are being prepared to secure theirs with the help from manuals.
Two produce packing facility houses, for some GAVEX members, have been upgraded to meet standards, whilst three new packhouses have been built and are in use. Two more are under contruction. In addition, laboratory equipment for pest and disease diagnosis and analysis has been procured for the new PPRSD laboratory.
Currently, the project is working with a team from Henson Geodata Technologies to develop a pest monitoring and traceability application tool for GAVEX producers/exporters and PPRSD to encourage electronic data collection and sustainable pest surveillance in the fields. The app is due to be launched in May 2019.