Compete Ghana has engaged relevant agencies in the import and export value chain to improve the existing Ghana-European Union (EU) early warning mechanism under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
This is to enable them to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning information to enable exporters and agencies in the import and export value chain to identify non-compliant exports to the EU and respond in an appropriate manner.
Food safety is a major concern in the EU, therefore, there are requirements on safety foods imported to the EU because unsafe or incorrectly labelled products will be banned from entering the European market.
The agencies were engaged on the role of stakeholder institutions in the existing system, discussion on a streamlined information flow, features of the proposed dashboard and management of the mechanism.
The institutions included the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ghana Standards Authority.
The others included the Foods and Drugs Authority, Ghana Revenue Authority, Plants Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate, Veterinary Services Directorate and National Security.
The Team Leader of Compete Ghana, Nicolas Gebara, said the meeting brought consensus among key stakeholders on the need to respond swiftly to alerts and notifications from the EU on Ghana exports.
“Sometimes, there are situations where there are complications regarding contaminated foods and what is important to do is to make sure that the information comes to the right stakeholder to be disseminated and take actions, to prevent more complications,” he added.
The team leader said the discussions were centered on establishing an early warning system aimed at providing the information, roles and responsibilities, and mechanisms to ensure better coordination among stakeholders.
He said it was also centered on shortening the delivery time of information on alerts and notifications on the quality of goods exported from Ghana to the EU, and establishing a central dashboard that was accessible virtually to key institutions to allow rapid response to the alert system received.
Mr Gebara emphasised that farmers and exporters needed to comply with the EU standards and food safety regulations to avoid warnings and bans on goods exported to the EU.
An IT consultant who doubles as the software developer for the mechanism, Nana Twum-Barimah Adu, indicated the importance of the design of the mechanism to exporters, relevant institutions, the public and researchers.
Mr Adu emphasised on the importance of the software in enabling quick access of information by key institutions to be distributed to exporters.
He said that the upgrading of the existing warning system by an electronic one would provide quick access of key stakeholders to alerts and notifications and would be more effective and would allow Ghana to promptly respond and take corrective action.