GHANA – Ghana’s Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has approved five firms to resume vegetable exports to the international market.

In June 1 this year, the country banned the export of Capsicum, Solanum, luffa and all leafy vegetables to European Union (EU) and the international market.

PPRSD said the suspension was necessitated due to “the high level of local interceptions at the exit points; the alarming rate of external notifications, and the new EU directives to all countries to re-provide dossiers to the EU on the management of harmful organisms on some of the above vegetables.”

The regulator has however approved Joekopan Farms, AB Farms, A Mahli Farms, Dhillon Farms and Shrighan Farms, after meeting condition set by the PPRDS and will receive a laboratory approval certification, reports GhanaWeb.

Consequently, the firms have also been directed to source the commodities, including capsicum (chillies), soladum (garden eggs) and luffa (turia) only from 13 out of the 70 inspected farms by the PPRSD.

The regulator is also anticipating to remove the suspension on the commodities in the coming days as exporters seek to comply to the conditions required by the EU Commission to improve phytosanitary systems of vegetables that entered its market.

“So far, we have inspected 70 farms and apparently the outgrowers were not doing according to the protocols which we directed them to in terms of the harvest of vegetables, especially for the export market.

“As a result, the PPRSD has redirected both the outgrowers and the exporters to go by the protocols, else their produce will not be approved for export,” says Prudence Atipo, from PPRSD.

New Reforms

Mr Atipo explains that under the new reforms of the PPRSD, every consignment must undergo laboratory tests before approval would be given for it to leave the country.

Although the reforms were already operational, he explained that players in the industry were not fully complying with them and so the PPRSD would be strict in their implementation.

He noted that produce meant for export was expected to pass three major assessments before leaving the country — presentation of farm waybill, pack-house waybill and laboratory certification.

Generally, the vegetable export business in Ghana is currently undergoing a rough phase due to a combination of factors that has pushed down fortunes generated from the sector.

According to data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) the exports have marginally decline over the past years from a high of US$1.75 million in 2009 to US$669,208 in 2018.