Ghanaian farmers is set to resume earning $15 million annually from vegetable exports. This is linked to CABI’s work in partnership to improve Ghana’s phyosanitary systems after the European Commission ban in 2015.
The lifting of the suspension, imposed due to concerns about the management of four quarantine pests including false codling moth, whitefly, thrips and fruit fly, means Ghana is exporting chili peppers, bottle gourds, luffa gourds, bitter gourds and eggplants to Europe once more.
As part of a €1.8 million project – part-funded by CABI and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the private sector – CABI is helping to protect the livelihood of Ghana’s vegetable growers by improving its technical and organizational capacity in the entire horticulture supply chain.
Working with partners including the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, and the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX), CABI helped streamline the inspection and export certification as part of its improved phytosanitary systems.
This also included: Enhancing protocols and standard operating procedures in production and assisting in upgrading and construction of sorting, inspection and packing facilities; promoting good agricultural practices in the vegetable production chain; and training farmers, exporters, aggregators, GAVEX technical staff, students and PPRSD staff in quarantine pest surveillance systems, data collection and analysis, and reporting.
One farmer benefiting from the lifting of the ban is Ernest Joe Agidi of Ada Irrigation Co-operative Farmers Association who has a 12-acre farm producing Chili pepper, Egg-plant and Okra.
Ernest Joe Agidi said, “The lifting of the ban will allow me to start producing Chilies and Asian vegetables for export again. The Asian vegetables are not preferred by most Ghanaian consumers and we grow them mainly for the export market. I will be able to make more income to pay my workers, my children school fees and also invest in other ventures apart from my farming business.”
Walter Hevi, CABI’s Project Manager in Ghana, said CABI was invited in early 2016 to join the Export Task Force established by the Minister of Food and Agriculture to collectively solve the phytosanitary issues facing the vegetable sub-sector in a way to ensure that the EU ban was lifted.
Some of CABI’s contributions to the improvements included producing and distributing posters on pests management to help train vegetable exporters and their out-growers on how to manage the four quarantine pests, distribution of insect traps for pest monitoring and provision of laboratory equipment to PPRSD.
Ebenezer Aboagye Head of Crop Pest and Disease Management Division at PPRSD of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, said, “The project has improved the shortcomings in the phytosanitary export certification system in Ghana. The current phytosanitary safeguards are sufficient to ensure that Asian vegetables from Ghana destined for EU will be free from harmful organisms.”
Alex Akuffo,treasurer at GAVEX, said, “I pack produce harvested from my farm and my out-growers farms in my house. I am very happy the project is assisting me with 50% funding to build a sorting and packing facility at the production site of my out-growers. This will help me adhere to the standard operations procedure in my postharvest handling processes to export a clean and healthy produce to the EU market.” (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)