By Nana Ama Omari
A five-year UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) funded project, called Global Quality and Standards Programme, GQSP, has ended in Ghana. It focused on strengthening the oil palm, cashew and cocoa value chains.
The GQSP, which commenced in 2019, serves as a global initiative developed to strengthen the quality and standards compliance of SMEs, institutions and service providers in cashew, oil palm and cocoa value chains, to increase their competitiveness on the global market.
At a closing session in Accra, stakeholders called for continuous collaboration between regulatory authorities and donor partners to bolster Ghana’s export potential.
In her remarks, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy in Ghana, Dr. Simone Haeberli, said the project has achieved its desired results of empowering SMEs, promoting a culture of quality and supporting the country’s quality infrastructure to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
She announced that 63 farmers are certified to the Roundtable of Sustainable Palmoil Production (RSPO), three Palmoil Milling companies have been certified to the RSPO supply chain standards- which make these companies to sell their produce to multinationals operating in Ghana. She added that two chocolate-making companies (women owned), are now certified to HACCP- a work hazard prevention protocol and have since increased their markets, especially, in the EU and the USA.
“Over the past 15 years, SECO and UNIDO have worked diligently to strengthen Ghana’s quality infrastructure system by supporting the integration of the country’s product into the global market. It is truly gratifying to see the positive outcomes for the SMEs, farmer groups and the government institutions involved,” she added.
Dr. Haeberli, who is also the Head of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy, pledged her country’s continuous support to foster economic growth in Ghana.
“Switzerland will continue to engage the private sector in a new project- Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme (GPSCP), aimed at making a lasting impact on Ghana’s SME landscape and the country’s export potential,” she pledged.
The UNIDO Representative for Ghana and Liberia, Mr. Stavros Papastavrous, said the core focus of UNIDO aligns with the SDG 9, emphasising the construction of resilient infrastructure to champion inclusive and sustainable industralisation of which Switzerland’s International Cooperation, zeroes in on strengthening national quality infrastructure and ensuring compliance with International Standards.
“The collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry has yielded remarkable achievements, namely the accreditation of national testing laboratories to global standards, the establishment of Ghana’s National Product Certification System to international recognition and certification of selected SMEs in line with international standards tailored to expedite trade in our rapidly digitalizing world,” he noted.
The Chief Director, at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Patrick Nimo, lauded the UNIDO team for a good work done and urged the beneficiaries to continue on the path of sustainability.
He indicated that the GQSP, has left behind an electronic platform of all laboratory services designed to improve access to information for compliance to trade requirement.
Mr. Nimo, said the expertise acquired from GQSP training and support will have a tangible effect on the Ghanaian economy. He urged regulatory authorities to support and furnish beneficiary companies with the right information and facilitation to flourish.
Beneficiaries of the project including the Ghana Standard Authority, GSOPP farmers, showed their appreciation for the GQSP. Plaques were presented to the beneficiaries and the stakeholders for their commitment to ensuring the successful implementation of the GQSP in Ghana.