GHANA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the School of Agriculture of the University of Ghana (UG) have launched a Grain Quality Grading and Certification Project aimed at improving the quality of grains and enhancing the cereal value chain development in the country.
The Project, a three-year initiative would seek collaboration from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Ghana Commodities Exchange (GCX), the Ghana Grains Council (GGC), and other institutions in the grain value chain.
Experts in the field will spearhead the initiative led by Dr. Francis Kemeze (AfDB), Dr. Herbert Ainembabazi (AfDB), Dr. Toba Omotilewa (AfDB), Prof. Irene S. Egyir (UG) and Dr. Charles Yaw Okyere (UG).
Speaking at the launch of the Project, Mr. Yaw Frimpong Addo the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture said there was a need to establish rules, quality grades and standards, and certification in Ghana’s grain markets.
This, according to him would govern and foster national and regional grain transactions and strengthen commodity exchange and food safety.
In addition, the project would yield several positive results including the empowering of smallholders in market negotiations, allowing them to receive higher prices for higher-quality grain.
The Deputy Minister revealed that the research team for the project would build capacity in Ghana, through extensive outreach aimed at a wide range of stakeholders including farmers, brokers, processors, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), and the GCX.
Such strong collaborations, he stressed, would go a long way to enhance grain quality testing and certification in the country to promote industrialization and value addition thereby reducing post-harvest losses.
The government, through the Ghana Standards Authority and other relevant stakeholders, had developed various standards for some grains to promote proper grading and standardization and believed the project would increase the success rate in that direction.
A team member of the project, Dr Charles Yaw Okyere noted how food safety and quality were of importance and must be taken seriously to protect consumers.
He expressed worry about the high levels of aflatoxins in many grains in various open markets across the country adding that, it was important for consumers to also demand quality in terms of food safety and security.
“Therefore, with this project, we will be focused on helping farmers to improve the quality of grains to enhance their output and increase their revenue while ensuring consumer safety,” Dr Charles said.
The project lead and Senior Research Economist at the AfDB, Dr. Francis H. Kemeze, said promoting grain quality across African markets was of paramount importance to the African Development Bank, hence the decision to invest in the project.