22nd July 2024

Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto,

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it is in talks with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to deal with the challenges associated with aflatoxins in the country.
Aflatoxins have led to the rejection of the country’s grain exported to European countries.
Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize, rice, peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts.
Reports indicate that Ghana received 46 notifications of Aflatoxins in food commodities from the European Union between 2018 and 2019.

Initiatives

According to the director of Research and Crops at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Seth Osei Akoto, the Ministry is, among other things, embarking on some exercises to tackle the issue.
“As we speak, the Ministry is aware, and we are partnering with the Ghana Standards Authority to come out with standards to guide our various stakeholders on how to handle the grains and I have an officer who is part of that committee trying to educate the farmers and extension officers on how to handle the grains so that moving forward the country will not be involved in that particular issue they are raising,” she said in a media interview.

“First of all, we need standards to guide all those exporters of grains outside the country. And that is the mandate of the Ghana Standards Authority, but they cannot do it alone because they don’t have the background to some of the things we do at the ministry level.
“What we thought we could do is to partner as a team. We will also go round educating farmers and our special assistants at the district levels on how to handle the grains after harvesting so that those who are interested in export will not have that challenge again,” he added.

Ban

This is not the first time the European Union is raising concerns with products from Ghana.
Last year, the Food and Agriculture Ministry placed an indefinite ban on the export of all leafy vegetables to the international market following concerns from the EU.
Bell pepper, Solanum and luffa were also included in the ban which took effect on June 1, 2019.
The suspension, it explained, was due to “the high level of local interceptions at the exit points.”

It also noted that “the alarming rate of external notifications, and the new EU directives to all countries to re-provide dossiers to the EU on the management of harmful organisms on some of the above vegetables.”
Ghana has had to contend with bans on vegetable exports imposed by the European Union.

SOURCE: Daily Statesman

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