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The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) office in Ghana is set to launch the second phase of a trade capacity building programme aimed at improving standards in exports.
The 4-year programme, which will run from 2013-2016, is aimed at supporting Ghana’s integration into world markets by developing a competitive and sustainable export economy compliant with trade related standards.
It is being implemented in conjunction with the Ghana government with funding from the Swiss Government through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
According to the Chief Technical Advisor of the project, Mr Victor Mills, the programme which is in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) is expected to focus on selected export products including fruits (mangoes and pineapples), cocoa, fish and wood value chains.
“The key objective is to ensure that the selected agricultural products improve their sustainability, quality and export competitiveness by complying with international standards and having access to conformity assessment services” he said.
As part of the programme, UNIDO will conduct an in-depth value chain analysis on the products during the period to identify particular areas of intervention and development opportunities in fostering standard compliance and trade capacity building.
The Swiss Government through SECO continues to promote sustainable economic growth in developing countries and has funded the programme since 2007.
Phase I of the UNIDO/SECO/MOTI collaboration supported the accreditation of testing laboratories at the Ghana Standards Authority in the field of Microbiology and Pesticide Residue for Ghanaian exporters. These laboratories will test to ensure food safety from microbiological contamination, timely detection of the maximum permissible pesticide levels in local and exported foods and eliminate the need for re-testing in another country.
The programme also offered specific technical assistance through training programmes and study tours and provision of equipment to strengthen institutions in areas such as standardisation, testing, traceability, inspection and management system certification.
The launch of the Phase II of the programme, therefore, expands the scope to ensure that upgraded services reach private sector actors throughout the value-chain and sustainable standards are promoted and implemented.