The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Thursday presented licenses and some tool kits to some cottage/micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) under its Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) programme to enable them operate properly under regulations.
The 30 cottage industries from the Greater Accra region, who deal mainly in cereal production, particularly, “Tombrown”, were selected with the help of the Ghana Enterprises Agency and taken through series of intensive training in “Good Manufacturing Practices, Effective Product Labelling and Food Safety.”
The FDA partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) to carry out the training for the participating enterprises with the WFP providing funding to procure some essential items, including 1000 labelled pouches for packaging, Sealing Machines, Stamps, Digital Weighing Scales and Files for records keeping for the trainees.
Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, who presented the certificates and the tools to the beneficiaries at a ceremony in Accra, expressed the hope the exercise would send a good signal of the Authority’s strong commitment to supporting 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.”
“This is especially important as the country works towards the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agenda,” she added.
The FDA Boss announced that from the introduction of the PLS programme to date, 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 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.
Madam Patience Asiedu, Head of Nutrition, WFP, said her Organisation’s 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 recounted that globally about nine million people die of hunger each year while a third of the food produced went 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 not only to provide good nutrition to the populace but to 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.”
Madam Asiedu said the WFP with support from the Government of Canada had been assisting industrial agro-processes in Ghana to produce safe, nutritious foods not only for the vulnerable populations who received nutritional support but also to the public by ensuring that the foods were readily available on the market.
“We also continue to work with small and medium scale processors in various communities, especially in Northern Ghana to further ensure all people have access to safe, affordable nutritious foods.”
Mrs Philomena Norman, Acting Director, Women’s Enterprises Development, Ghana Enterprises Agency, commended the 30 participating enterprises for availing themselves to benefit from the training, which would spur their businesses on to another level.
Some of the participants thanked the FDA for offering them a critical training assistance and the recognition to boost their businesses.