Vegetable farmers in Ghana producing for export have been urged to comply with quality and safety standards in line with international market requirements.
A researcher at the University of Ghana Soil and Irrigation Research Centre, Dr. Ken Okae Fenning warned Ghana could be banned again if farmers fail to adhere to standards.
His call follows the lifting of a ban on vegetables from the country by the European Union (EU) Commission on five plant commodities (chilli pepper, bottle gourds, luffa gourds, bitter gourds and eggplants) from Ghana to the EU market.
This was after an audit by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission which Ghana was cleared and given the green light to export.
Based on this, from 1st January 2018, Ghanaian farmers will be able to resume exports of all plant commodities to the European Union (EU) market.
Speaking at the GhanaVeg Business Platform Meeting on the theme: Investing in Ghana’s horticulture sector, Dr. Fenning said efforts by government to prevent another ban will not yield results if farmers are not schooled on international best practices.
He indicated that recent study revealed that ignorance about pesticide use and other Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) related issues was found to be highest among the many smallholder farmers.
The researcher recommended that farmers be schooled on how to deal with pesticides in a more responsible manner, making use of the Integrated Pest Management and Good Agriculture Practices (GAP).
Dr. Fenning however commended government for upgraded sanitary and phytosanitary systems after the weak system earned the country a ban on exports of five vegetables and equipping Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on how to facilitate exports of vegetables to the EU market.
GhanaVeg Business Platform Meeting is an initiative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in line with efforts towards prioritizing commercial agriculture.
The meeting which brought together consultants, agronomists, importers of agro-chemicals, vegetable exporters and producers; sought to share ideas on how to improve on the growth and development of Ghana’s horticulture sector.
The event was also used to present certificates to graduants of agronomy training organized by GhanaVeg.