The 2018 National Best Farmer, James Boateng, stressed the need for improved standards in the agriculture sector in Ghana.
Mr. Boateng speaking on the maiden edition of the on-air series for this year’s Citi Business Festival on the Citi Breakfast Show which is starting with a focus on agribusiness noted this as one of the avenues for opening doors to Ghanaian farmers on the international market.
Mr Boateng said: “first of all, if you want to ensure that you have access to the international market, then get ready to be certified and getting ready to be certified means that you must focus on the parameters of quality.”
“There is so much market out there. There is so much demand. Unfortunately, not a lot of farmers in this country can access that market.
Some of the organisations that enforce standards include Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) and GLOBAL G.A.P.
Such bodies pay attention to chemicals used during the farming and the preharvest intervals.
Ghana has faced intermittent bans on certain vegetables being exported to Europe over quality concerns over the last four years.
“If you have sprayed chemicals on vegetables, you don’t eat that vegetable until you have allowed the chemical to dissipate within the vegetable,” Mr. Boateng explained.
Quality being enforced also has to do with “how safe it is to eat the fruit and even employee safety and how you have cared for the environment,” he added.
Even the remuneration of employees is taken into account “because the same employees can sabotage the product.”
Mr. Boateng further stressed that the quality control goes all the way to the soils’ quality.
“Probably the soil has so much Sulphur then you will find traces of that Sulphur, more than the minimum standard in that fruit.”