Ghana has potential to add value to local foods – WIAD Director
Dr Mary Opoku-Asiama, Director, Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD), has tasked food processors to process and add value to local foods in very safe conditions in order to attract the needed price on the market.
She said ensuring the safety of consumers and balancing the need to empower women to participate and gain economically in the agro-processing industry would go a long way in promoting the industry.
Dr Opoku-Asiama was speaking during an inspection of some processing facilities at Dodowa in the Shai–Osudoko District in Accra.
She said safety precautions available at most small-scale agro processing facilities in the country are in deplorable conditions and not clean enough to produce the food Ghanaians eat on daily basis.
The health implications of such foods on consumers and members of the public are enormous.
Dr Opoku-Asiamah noted that adequate monitoring of the activities of processing facilities to ensure that they adhere to the required safety standards in the processing industry has been a challenge to the regulatory system.
She therefore called on small-scale food processors to improve on the poor hygienic conditions at their facilities.
She warned that if they do not review their mode of operations, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other government food security agencies would be forced to shut down their facilities.
Dr Opoku-Asiamah noted that the role of women in the downstream agro-processing sector is enormous and advised the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to institute programmes that are geared towards providing support and infrastructure to women in the sector.
She also called on the MMDAs to ensure that their environmental protection and health directorates monitor processing facilities in their districts on regular basis.