Minister tells Ghanaian exporters to acquire necessary certification
The Planned Protection Regulatory Services (PPRS) Unit of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has been cautioned not to compromise on exporters’ compliance with minimum phytosanitary standards.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, who gave the directive advised exporters to obtain the necessary certification from the appropriate government institutions before embarking on exports.
The Minister was speaking at the 74th National Exporters’ Forum and Launch of the 2012 Non-Traditional Export (NTE) Statistics, organised in Accra on Tuesday, by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).
Mr Iddrisu called on exporters to meet the minimum phytosanitary measures required by many of Ghana’s major trading partners, stressing that, compliance was critical for the credibility and image of the products that left the shores of the country.
Under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards agreement, the World Trade Organisation sets constraints on member-states’ policies relating to food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling), as well as animal and plant health with respect to imported pests and diseases.
Mr Iddrisu, however, gave the assurance that Government would improve the quality assurance infrastructure of the PPRS of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Standards Authority to ensure that Ghanaian exports met the minimum requirements of the country’s trading partners.
The Minister said he had issued a directive to the management of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) to decentralise its operations to make the Fund easily accessible to exporters throughout the country.
Consequently EDAIF is expected to establish Export Centres throughout the country.
Mr Iddrisu called on exporters to diversify the direction of their export trade activities and to explore new market opportunities.
Mr Iddrisu disclosed that Government would by the end of the first quarter of 2014 conclude an agreement with the European Union (EU) on an interim Economic Partnership Agreement to protect the country’s export products to the EU market.
Ghana’s performance of NTEs to the EU market stood at 34.07 per cent in 2012.
Mr Gideon Quarcoo, Chief Executive Officer of GEPA listed Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea and Liberia as the top ten NTE markets in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region.
He said Ghana needed to redouble her efforts in reaching out to the ECOWAS markets, stressing that, the members were “hungry” for made-in- Ghana products.
The ECOWAS sub-region runs a close second to the EU in terms of Ghana’s NTEs destination. It commands a 31.68 per cent of the market share.
Mr Quarcoo announced that exports of non-traditional products for 2012 amounted to $2.364 billion, representing a decrease of 2.43 per cent in value over the previous earnings of $2.423 billion in 2011.
He attributed the decline in earnings to factors including the drop in the average price levels of some key products such as cashew nuts (16 per cent), cocoa paste (11 per cent), and canned tuna (33 per cent).
Another factor, he said, was the lifting of the ban on exports of cocoa and its derivatives in Cote d’Ivoire in 2012, which limited market opportunities within the year for some key cocoa companies in the country.
Mr Quarcoo said there was an unfavourable cross-border trade in cashew nuts with neighbouring countries including Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
“The relatively stable economic conditions in Cote d’Ivoire caused cashew from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire to be channelled through Abidjan, which otherwise could have been routed through Tema port.”
Mr Quarcoo, however, expressed optimism that in spite of the 2.43 per cent decline in NTE earnings for 2012, the target for 2013, which is $3.3 billion, is achievable.
“This calls for aggressive export promotion and development by GEPA in collaboration with other key export stakeholders,” he added.
The National Exporters’ Forum provided the platform for stakeholders in the export sector to discuss solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Mr Kobina Ade Coker, Chairman of the Governing Council for GEPA, was optimistic participants at the forum would suggest innovative means to address the challenges that could stall progress made at the export sector.