Ghana Grains Council (GGC) in collaboration with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund) is embarking on a month-long advocacy campaign to sensitise members to enforce standards in the industry.
The step supported by USAID and DANIDA is to encourage all stakeholders including farmers, Fixed Based Operators (FBOs), traders, processors, millers, warehouse operators, and aggregators in the agricultural commodity markets value chain, especially for grains and legumes to ensure that there is quality, productivity and profitability in the grains value chain.
According to a statement from GGC, copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Council had earmarked a month-long sensitisation drive which kick starts from the Volta Regional capital, Ho, through to Ejura in Ashanti Region, Techiman, Bono East Region, Wa and Tumu in Upper West Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and Tamale the Northern region.
The sensitisation drive would create a platform for the Council to engage stakeholders like the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Food and Drugs Authority, representatives of the major grains market centres and all value chain actors on how to drive growth in the sector.
The statement said the GGC and the Ghana Standards Authority had developed standards for grains and legumes such as maize, rice, soybean, sorghum and groundnut.
It was therefore imperative for all value chain actors to appreciate the overarching importance of the adoption and enforcement of the standards herein developed by the regulators.
This is because apart from the strategic value added services, value chain actors stood to gain warehouse receipting, advocacy, capacity building opportunities and access to high end markets and premium prices, the statement said.
"The GGC realises that certain key factors militate against adherence to the standards set by the GSA, due to the current voluntary nature of the enforcement and knowledge gab on benefits of incorporating such standards by industry players," it noted.
The Grain standard specification covers the characteristics for the grain and set requirements for three main areas – Safety, Quality and Sampling and test methods, with each grain having its standard.
Compliance to these standards, the statement explained, would enhance the competitiveness of value chain actors to have access to high end markets and ultimately help them to better position themselves to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA provides a platform for free trade by creating a single market to deepen the economic integration of the continent.
The statement urged the grain industry to tap into markets of member countries within the AfCFTA by linking markets to actors within the grain value chain.
Mrs Emily Boahen, the Acting Executive Secretary of GGC appealed to all members, government, public institutions and stakeholders to collaborate and help to facilitate extended market access, influence policy change and to adhere to standards and regulations in Ghana's grains sub sector to increase economic growth and productivity, the statement said.
GGC is a private sector-led initiative formed by grain business leaders with initial funding from USAID's ATP and ADVANCE projects to positively intervene in the grains and legume value chain to achieve improvement in productivity, quality and greater commercialization of the industry.
Membership consist of farmers, FBO's, traders, processors, millers, warehouse operators, aggregators, banks, non-bank financial institutions, insurance companies, and collateral managers etc.