Ghana is to benefit from a National Food Packaging Centre being proposed by the “Improving Food Packaging for Small Medium Agro-Enterprises (SAME’s) in Sub-Saharan Africa Project.”

A woman sticks nang, a baked pancake and staple for Uygur, onto the inall of a nang pit in Yanchi Township of Yiwu County in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Nov. 8, 2015. Nang, with a history of over 2,000 years, is easy to make and carry. The long shelf life of nang has made it an essential food for businessmen in Xinjiang. (Xinhua/Polat)

The centre, when established would provide technical support to food chain actors in terms of training, assistance in supply, designing, labelling and meeting regulatory standards and also serve as a means for training and technological transfer from industrialised countries to Sub-Saharan African countries.

The project, a collaborative effort of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Trade Centre and I.M.A s.p.a is to address the challenges of poor packaging.

Ms Stephanie Gallatova, the Agro-Industry and Infrastructure Officer, FAO said it played a crucial role in preserving food quality and safety and in facilitating distribution and marketing of food products.

She said in Ghana as in most sub-Saharan African countries, poor packaging was one of the main reasons for the failure of locally manufactured food products to establish themselves in the market and also compete favourably with imported ones.

She said there was a strong and growing demand for processed and packaged products in sub-Saharan Africa and the region had a big and growing potential market population projected to double from 1.2 billion in 2015 to 2.4 billion by 2050.

She said the SAME’s have a critical role to play in the ongoing transformation of the agri-food chain due to their significant contribution to income, employment and growth of the national economy.

Mr Djibril Drame, a Resource Person said the project was aimed at providing guidance to food chain actors, government and private sector on appropriate food packaging systems including food packaging, materials, equipment and an enabling policy and regulatory framework.

The initial phase of the project would assess the packaging needs and priorities of SAME’s and the feasibility of establishing National Packaging Centres.

He said the evidence gathered from these studies would inform the design of the regional project on the development of the food packaging sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Papa Bartels, the Director, Value Chain and Logistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry said government was rolling out a National Packaging Policy and logistics strategy to guide the sector.

He said with the policy and the strategy, it would address capacity building, legal and regulatory regimes, financing and taxes and quality and safety issues.

He said it was committed to the project rolled out and was ready to support in its implementation process to improve of the packaging sector.

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