60 individuals representing stakeholders in Ghana’s export value chains of processed fruits (mango & pineapple), cassava, cosmetics and body care products, have undergone training on the newly-introduced coding system for traceability of export products.
The programme, which forms part of the EU-funded West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), is intended to increase access to regional and international markets of Ghanaian goods and products while creating employment opportunities to boost the standard of living in host communities.
With the implementation of the e-traceability system, commodities can be traced back to their sources of production easily in the event of an interception, allowing for immediate corrective measures to curb subsequent interceptions.
Addressing participants during a training workshop in Accra, the Deputy Chief Executive of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) Samuel Dentu, said the WACOMP programme aims to support Ghanaian firms to take advantage of opportunities in the EU market within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement that the EU signed with Ghana.
“Under the WACOMP programme, GEPA has already conducted mapping exercises of the three selected value chains for selected out-growers in the various regions.”
“The outcome of the mapping exercise forms the basis of these traceability workshops, of which the first was held in Kumasi on Tuesday 31st August 2021.”
He added that the decision to switch to the e-traceability system will help to position made-in-Ghana products and services within the EU and other markets of interest, as traceability is considered a critical aspect of international trade.
He said e-traceability also falls in line with the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) which has a revenue target of US$25.3 billion by 2029 through the development of Ghana’s non-traditional export sector.
The Director for the Plants Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), Dr. Felicia Ansah-Amprofi, said the EU conducted an audit into Ghana’s phytosanitary system in 2016 after placing a ban on vegetables (Capsicum spp., Lagenaria sp., Luffa sp., Mormodica sp. and Solanum spp.) which were intercepted at various entry points in the EU with pest issues.
She said the EU audit report concluded that PPRSD needed a traceability system, which is a requirement for importing into the EU territory.
In line with the recommendations, a manual coding system to ensure full traceability of consignments and their lots through all stages of production-handling-transport prior to export was developed before the lifting of the ban in 2018.
She said the PPRSD is now upgrading its manual traceability system to an e-traceability to ensure that products are fully traced through all stages of production, handling and transport.
She explained that while traceability helps to mitigate fraud and food counterfeiting, it also helps to maintain customer trust among exporters, suppliers and end-users.
Dr. Ansah-Amprofi revealed that fruits and root and tuber exporters are next to be enrolled on the electronic system, adding that the PPRSD will accelerate its sensitisation campaign to ensure that all Ghanaian exporters are enrolled by 2023.