Phytosanitary system development for the vegetable sector in Ghana
Ghana’s vegetable sector has the potential to create 20,000 skilled jobs and increase exports to the European Union. But exports are hampered by quarantine pests. This project aimed to improve the current system and develop a new organic supply chain by establishing an effective phytosanitary system, facilitating strategic alliances between importers, producers and exporters, and investing in technical expertise to help producers and exporters meet quality standards.
So, what’s the problem
At nearly 40% of Gross Domestic Product, 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 Europe. 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.
What is this project doing?
The overall objective of the project was to increase the export of horticulture products from Ghana to Europe. The aim was to work with the entire supply to establish an effective Sanitary and Phytosanitary system (SPS). Based on the existing phytosanitary system, the public-private partnership aimed to develop Ghana’s technical and organizational capacity for core phytosanitary competencies related to export.
To do this, CABI’s team worked to strengthen the responsible government institutions, helping them to provide regulations, protocols and standard operating procedures. Phytosanitary surveillance systems for the horticultural sector were needed, and phytosanitary problems in the vegetable sector needed to be overcome which could be done through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), helping to regain export markets in the UK and the Netherlands.
With partners, CABI planned to develop a new supply chain of organically certified produce from Ghana to Europe. The project helped importers to develop strategic alliances with producers and exporters in Ghana, while in-country technical expertise (producers and exporters) was enhanced to meet the quality standards required.
Infrastructure development and knowledge sharing between value chain actors was also key to the success of this project.
The CABI team assisted the Export Task Force with an audit visit from the European Commission Directorate-General For Health And Food Safety (DG SANTE) and also contributed to responses to issues raised. These actions contributed to the lifting of the export ban on selected vegetables in January 2018. The interventions contributed to a reduction in interceptions of harmful organisms in commodities exported to the EU markets from a peak of 330 in 2014 to 11 in 2020.
The project worked to enhance compliance with production standards, implemented management systems, made technical assistance for certification available, built infrastructure for sorting, inspection, packing and storage while building relations based on proper business conduct between exporters and farmers. A new supply chain of organically certified citrus produce from Quarcoo Initiatives Co. Ltd. (Quin Organics) in Ghana to EOSTA B.V in the Netherlands was also supported.
Field trials and demonstrations for the management of false codling moth, thrips, whitefly, eggplant fruit, fruit fly, shoot borer and fall armyworm were initiated at seven sites, increasing the capacity of 1,556 varied value chain actors including vegetable producers, exporters, out-growers, PPRSD inspectors and extension agents in GAP, phytosanitary measures and the management of these major quarantine pests. Standard operating procedures for field production of selected vegetables were also developed and pest surveillance and diagnosis equipment was procured.
Nine packhouses were identified to be upgraded or built, with four of these already renovated and in use, the other five under construction.
The project also assisted two companies to obtain their GlobalGAP certification and support three other companies with their GlobalGAP process and documentation.