Traders in the Wa market have been sensitized on food safety and hygiene to ensure they guard against food poisoning and other food-borne diseases.
The sensitization was on effective handling, storage and display of food and food products in the market as part of measures aimed at enhancing food safety and hygiene especially at the market places.
Dr Zakaria Issahaku, a Technical Advisor with Market-Oriented Agriculture Programme in North West Ghana (MOAP NW), noted that food safety and hygiene were very crucial to their everyday life as they helped in protecting them from food-borne illnesses and food poisoning.
He said it was against this backdrop that they organised the sensitisation in various markets for traders, adding that beyond the production of quality food at the farm level, they were also interested in how food was being treated in the market places before it reached consumers in their various homes.
“The European Union (EU) and other stakeholders of EU Ghana Agriculture Programme (EUGAP) want to ensure that we get it right from the farm to fork”, Dr Issahaku said.
Mr Shamir Mohammed, a Regulatory Officer of the FDA in Wa encouraged the traders to ensure proper cooking of raw food such as meat such that microorganisms that could cause illnesses would die before the food got to the table for consumption.
Again, he encouraged the women to always check for expiry dates of packaged food products before buying, advising that if you’re not educated, find someone who can read to check the expiry date for you before you buy”.
Mr Mohammed further advised the market women to be careful in buying cheap products or promotional products often occasionally displayed at the market and that such products were often about to expire or have expired and were not good for human consumption.
Mr Francis Yelyen, Environmental Health Analyst at the Wa Municipal Assembly, educated the women on the importance of handwashing and the effects of exposing food products like vegetables on the bare floor or grounds.
“We have to keep our immediate environment neat, keep personal hygiene, cover food against flies and dust, ensure we use potable water for cooking, and endeavour to wash our vegetables with saltwater before cooking”, he advised.
“When we practice all this, we will be able to avoid a lot of diseases and we will be able to have a very productive workforce”, Mr Yelyen said.
Madam Jangu Barikisu Alhassan, Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) Officer at the Upper West Region Department of Agriculture, took the women through the safe use of agrochemicals and encouraged them to build a close relationship with the Agric Extension Agents (AEAs) in their locality so that they could get appropriate advice on the safe use of agrochemicals.
“The wrong usage of agrochemicals reduces crop yields, can even kill the crops, and can also contaminate food and vegetables, thereby, making them unsafe for human consumption”
The sensitisation exercise is being carried out in 14 major markets including all 11 districts in the Upper West Region and traders in the capital towns of North Gonja and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Districts in the Savanna Region and Mamprugu-Moagduri District in the North East Region.
It is jointly being carried out by MOAP NW in collaboration with WIAD Units of the Department of Agriculture (MoFA), Environmental Health Departments and the FDA offices across the three beneficiary regions.
MOAP NW is being implemented by the German Development Organisation (GIZ) and funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The project represents one of the main pillars of the EU Ghana Agriculture Programme (EUGAP) and supports the growth of agribusinesses with capacity building and technical assistance for farmers working with public and private service providers for robust and successful agribusinesses.