A participant receiving her toolkit from FDA CEO, Mrs Delese Mimi Darko
Thirty micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) have received licenses and some tool kits after successfully completing a training programme conducted by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on quality food production.
The training held in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) was under the Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) programme of the FDA to enable the informal sector operate properly under regulations.
The beneficiary enterprises, mainly producers of cereal, were selected from the Greater Accra Region, with the help of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and taken through a series of intensive training in good manufacturing practices, effective product labelling and food safety.
The programme supported with funds from the Canadian embassy, procured some essential items, including 1000 labelled pouches for packaging, Sealing Machines, Stamps, Digital Weighing Scales and Files for records keeping for the participants.
Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Delese Mimi Darko, who presented the certificates and the tools to the beneficiaries at a ceremony in Accra, said the exercise is an indication of the FDA’s commitment to support the growth of local industries.
She said the PLS launched in June 2020 involved three-staged licensing scheme-a Pink, Yellow, or Green Licence-designed to provide the needed support to MSMEs in order to meet FDA’s Regulatory requirements in a systematic manner without compromising on the standards of quality and safety.
“We believe that with the FDA operating this scheme, local manufacturers will over time obtain the necessary skill sets and support to allow them produce high quality products that can effectively compete with similar products on the Ghanaian market and even sell beyond our borders.”
She said the move is important as the country works towards the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agenda.
Mrs Darko disclosed that since the introduction of the PLS programme, 1522 food and cosmetics products had been registered while 527 food and cosmetics manufacturing facilities had been licensed.
She said the Authority would continue to closely monitor the activities of the businesses and give them the necessary technical support through its Industrial Support Departments to ensure their steady progression to the final stages of the licensing scheme.
She said the training engagement would also be expanded to all such industries countrywide and appealed to other well- meaning entities to support the FDA in regularising activities of micro enterprises as critical employment outlets.
Head of Nutrition, WFP, Patience Asiedu, said the mission of ending global hunger and efforts at reaching zero hunger by 2030 was on course as it sought partnerships with State agencies like the FDA to support stakeholders in the food production value chain to make that a reality.
She indicated that globally about nine million people die of hunger each year while a third of the food produced go waste.
“Sustainable food systems that deliver safe, nutritious and affordable diets are critical to meeting Sustainable Development Goal 2 …,” Madam Asiedu stated.
She said it was in that regard that the WFP was committed to supporting efficient, resilient and inclusive food systems in Ghana to provide good nutrition to the populace and improve livelihoods of actors along the agricultural value chain, especially women.
“We support Government institutions in their role towards meeting this objective but also believe in the prowess of the private sector in ensuring that food safety and quality standards are maintained along the value chain.”
Acting Director, Women’s Enterprises Development, Ghana Enterprises Agency, Philomena Norman, commended the 30 participants for availing themselves to benefit from the training.
The participants expressed their gratitude to the FDA for the training and toolkits which they said would go a long way to boost their businesses.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri