Ghana’s ban on some vegetables to the European market would be lifted by December, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, has assured.
According to him, drastic measures were being put in place to secure Ghanaian vegetables on the European Union (EU) market.
He made this known when he inaugurated the refurbished inspection facilities of the Aviance Cargo Village at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra last Monday.
The refurbished inspection facilities cost GHC200,000.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) placed a temporary ban on exports of some vegetables to the EU market in September, 2015.
The ban was to remain in place until all issues on interceptions by the Food and Vegetable Office (PVO) of the European Commission (EC) were addressed.
The affected vegetables include capsicum, solanum species- aubergines, momordica, luffa and lagenaria (gourd family) which did not meet the standards of the EU?market because they were rotten by the time they got to the European market.
The Plant Protection and Regulatory Directorate (PPRSD) of MoFA also banned exporters of fresh vegetables not belonging to registered associations or recognised by the directorate and those sourcing from unregistered farms.
But Alhaji Limuna further stated that Ghana could now compete favourably with other countries with the steps taken.
Steps being implemented
He said the refurbished inspection facility was one of the numerous steps being implemented to ensure that Ghana met the requirements of the EU market.
Alhaji Limuna said plans were far advanced to build a bigger laboratory in the next few months where more testing would be done.
He mentioned additional measures taken to guarantee compliance with standards of the international market and the EU market as the development and implementation of a standard operating procedure for effective monitoring of the supply chain.
Others include strict application of regulations and guidelines that insisted on all exporters sourcing produce from registered farmers, rigorous inspection of produce, with increased sampling size and a ban on exporters who flouted guidelines and regulations.
Alhaji Limuna said the country had reviewed its plant and quarantine manual and pest list to meet the EU standard.
In addition, he said there was a deeper collaboration with private sector actors and donor partners in the conduct of field trials to address pest infestation, among other measures.
For her part, the Director of PPRSD, Mrs Milly Ezeria Kyofa-Boamah, said the directorate would deal drastically with anyone who flouted the right procedure.
She said all plant produce intended for exports must be inspected by PPRSD and appropriately captured on the photo sanitary certificates.
The Managing Director of Aviance, Mr Paul Craig, lauded all stakeholders who contributed towards the refurbishment of the inspection facilities