Many low and middle income economies are struggling with market access to the economically important markets such as the EU but also growing their own and regional markets.
Non-tariff barriers to trades, such as food safety and phytosanitary standards, are a bottleneck for trade. Major issues are pesticide residues, mycotoxins but also compliance to phytosanitary regulations. While these issues affect trade and much needed forex earnings, the same plant health issues need to be tackled to increase food & nutrition security, food safety for the population at large as well as the environment.
This refresher course explores the underlying reasons, institutional, knowledge and external factors, that hamper the production and trade of safe and quality vegetables and other crops.
Refresher course in Ghana
Between 21 August and 1 September, 20 alumni came together in Accra for the refresher course on Plant Health Strategies for food nutrition security and trade, organised by CDI and co-organised by the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate and GhanaVeg.
Having Ghana as the host nation showed the participants all the struggles that a country has to lift a ban by the European Union on the export of vegetables. Visits to the laboratories of the phytosanitary as well as the food safety services made clear that there is a lot of good will but still a long way to go. The field visits around Accra to fruit & vegetable farmers as well as several processors highlighted the resilience these companies have even in times when the market is not very conducive.
Especially for the participants from Asia, visiting Ghana, and even Africa, for the first time there was the realisation that many problems they observed in Ghana are very similar to those in their own countries. Strategies for plant health (food safety, invasive & quarantine pests and misuse of pesticides) were designed. One of the major problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fall army worm, threatening food security in many countries, was discussed at length.