Over the years, Ghana’s export markets have become more sophisticated in their choices of what to buy as consumers now demand higher levels of quality, environmental sustainability, consistency and safety in the products.
For highly-developed markets like the European Union and the USA, Ghana has had the unpleasant experience of suffering multiple alerts of quality infringements and outright bans of some of its perishable products including vegetables in recent years.
In response, Ghana has improved the assurance of the quality characteristics of export products through inspection, testing, calibration certification, validation and verification activities by conformity assessment bodies.
The Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE), has also contributed to the retooling of laboratories of the conformity assessment bodies and regulatory agencies such as the Ghana Standards Authority, the Food and Drugs Authority, and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
NEDS’ implementation under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is expected to increase access to the needed services by decentralizing their availability and resourcing the regional branches of the conformity assessment bodies to undertake some of such operations at regional and district levels.
The operations of these bodies at the country’s exit ports will also be upgraded and streamlined to reduce costs related to multiple inspections and testing.
Under NEDS, Ghanaian exporters will also be supported to work in strict compliance with internationally-recognized product and quality standards to boost the nation’s image in world trade.
Ghana will also expedite action on the establishment of a National Accreditation Service that will enable some of the quality assurance services procured abroad to be done by accredited institutions and laboratories in Ghana.
The initiative will thus reduce the cost of the estimated 1 million USD Ghana reportedly spends annually to obtain accreditation services overseas.
With focus on boosting the export potentials of 17 selected products, the goal of the National Export Development Strategy is to accelerate the production of NTEs to achieve a substantial increase in manufactured goods and services components of the nation’s exports, with a projected aggregate revenue target of at least 25 billion USD by the year 2030.