In efforts to enhance the export competitiveness of Ghanaian commodities, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and SECO has launched the Global Quality and Standard Programme (GQSP), in Accra.
The GQSP, a SECO funded programme is aimed at finding another innovative way of enhancing the exportation of Ghanaian commodities by supporting government to achieve the industrialization agenda.
Speaking at event, the Chief Director of Ministry of Trade & Industry (MOTI) Mr Yaw Nimo, pointed out that, the programme is aimed at enhancing the export competitiveness of selected Value Chains in Ghana, including; cocoa, cashew and oil palm, which were high priorities on the government’s agenda to impact on the Ghanaian economy as a whole.
Adding that, the selected commodities will also support government initiatives such as the ten-year cashew development plans, which distributed many cashew planting materials to farmers with the aim of increasing the raw material base for cashew processing in Ghana.
The chief Director further revealed that, the global demand for oil palm on the international market is booming, which is driven largely by rising consumption of vegetable oils, and of the 17 major vegetable oils traded on the international market, palm oil was the most important.
“It accounts for more than half of the global import and export trade of all vegetable oils. Demand for palm oil is growing particularly fast and it is the most competitively priced vegetable oil. It is a key priority sector Government is targeting to enhance economic growth”, he noted.
Mr Nimo meanwhile indicated that, one of the outcomes of the project was to create awareness of quality, which was crucial for the development of the Ghanaian industry.
“Increasing the quality awareness and demands from customers and the general public will go a long way to help with the government industrialisation plan in “Enterprise Ghana”, he acknowledged.
The GQSP’s focus areas speak to the key theme for Ghana’s Economic Transformation Agenda enshrined in Government’s medium term development policy framework for 2018-2021 as it would help the government’s agenda for jobs: creating prosperity and equal opportunity for all SME’s in the selected value chains.
He therefore expressed his and the ministry appreciation to UNIDO and SECO for the new country programme which will help position Ghana strategically to compete successfully on the international and regional market.
It would also be strengthened by relevant standards and national quality infrastructure.
And commended the programme management team of UNIDO and SECO for the quality delivery and coordination exhibited over the years working with the Government of Ghana through MOTI, expressing the hope that the partnership would continue to reflect in the implementation of the GQSP.
On his part, Mr Juan Pablo Davila Sanchez Projects Manager, UNIDO pointed out that, the programme was to sustain the quality of cashew, oil palm and cocoa export for Ghana.
Indicating, what was required to ensure the quality of products exported was not only the quality of the product, but the quality of all the processes behind the product.
Therefore to ensure that, the quality of the process were of high quality there was the need to look at each of the steps of the value chain.
“One of the actors involved are the institutions that ensure the quality and look at the value chain and estimate what is needed, look at the institutions at each step of the chain and their quality system”, he stressed.
According to him, there were three elements that were pivotal to the GQSP, including; support to the SME’s, support to the institutions and the cultural quality
“Our work is to change the behaviour of people and this is done by changing the cultural quality of institutions and SME’s”, he noted.
Mr Sanchez indicated that, their programmes were to support the national quality system, and the cultural policies, at the global and country specific levels tailor-made to address the quality compliance of the country, which were interconnected
They are also to strengthen the quality compliance of participating countries to facilitate marketing access for SME’s by working in the value chain per country.
The key to success he said was to create demand driven quality infrastructure for sustainability and UNIDO programme was a global one working in eight different countries, and for Ghana it was to strengthen the quality of cashew oil palm and cocoa export for Ghana
Hence, the programme is expected to last for three and half years to raise cultural quality, enhance oil capacity and service, and improve SME’s capacity to comply with standards and regulations
“By raising the cultural quality and improving the capacity to good standard, we would have improved quality products and services from the SME’s and this is a virtual cycle”, he acknowledged.
Source: Ishmael Barfi