Mrs Delese Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, has charged Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), to ensure high standards in packaging their products to be competitive.
She said packaging had been the major limitation for entrepreneurs in Ghana, adding that, if MSMEs wished to access the African continental free trade area then there was the need for them to pay attention to packaging.
Mrs Darko said this at a two-day workshop on flexible food packaging for MSMEs organised by the FDA in collaboration with ePac-Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority, and Ecobank Ghana Limited in Accra.
It was on the theme, “Building Capacity in Flexible Packaging to Enhance Food Safety & Quality for MSMEs in the Africa Free Trade Area”.
The workshop seeks to introduce the latest international standards in food packaging and safety to the FDA and the GSA to fully equipped them to support local brand owners and consumers.
The CEO explained that the landscape for food packaging was transforming, especially with scientific advancements, and that as regulators and stakeholders, it was important to keep up with technological advancements to be ahead of time.
She noted that ensuring an acceptable level of food quality and safety was necessary to achieve adequate protection for consumers and to facilitate trade.
“For this reason, everyone involved in the food chain, from the smallholder farmer in the hinterland to urban consumer shares in the responsibility to keep food safe by taking necessary precautions to protect it from hazards that can increase human health risks.”
“These actions will also prevent or reduce food losses, which is especially important as the country faces the growing risks of climate change and food scarcity,” Mrs Darko stated.
The CEO commended ePac Ghana on its position to strengthen SMEs capacity in flexible packaging to promote safe handling, storage and transportation of products.
Mrs Velda Sosah, the Chief Financial Officer of ePac Ghana, said the limited availability of packaging solutions, which met both local and international market requirements presented a challenge for Made in Ghana products.
“This also limits producers’ ability to enhance product quality to meet the standards of the increasingly discerning consumer, which has resulted in an increase in imported products” she added.
Professor Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of Ghana Standards Authority, said it was time to change the narrative and do things differently to get solutions rather than always looking at the problems.
He called for the need to improve export competitiveness of local products, adding that some products were rejected because people were cutting corners and not meeting required standards.
Mr Kofi M. Essuman, the Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Ghana, spoke on the significance of packaging in trade as well as the various levels they needed to take to achieve that.
He noted that the Global Packaging Market Size was valued at $ 757 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $ 1,014 billion by 2023.
That was an indication that consumers’ demand in e-commerce continued to rise, and predicted to increase demand for packaging, Mr Essuman stated.
Mr Daniel Sackey, the Managing and Executive Director of Ecobank Ghana Limited, providing funding support for the programme, pledged their support to ensure MSMEs enhanced their products to be able to stand competition.
Participants at the workshop include regulators, Consumer Protection Agency, Ghana Enterprises Agency, Ghana Standards Authority, Academia, Ghana Export Promotion and officials from the Food and Drugs Authority.