More than 10 traders at the Malam Atta and Dome markets, both in Accra, have been arrested for allegedly adulterating palm oil for sale with a chemical substance commonly called Sudan IV dye.
The drums of palm oil have been seized to assist with investigations.
The dye is said to give the palm oil a deeper red colour for marketing purposes.
The arrests followed surveillance by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the police and other state agencies nationwide ahead of Christmas.
The Head of Communications and Public Education of the FDA, Mrs Rhoda Ewurabena Appiah, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the FDA was determined to crack down on persons engaged in such activity because it amounted to food fraud.
“The FDA is on high alert and what is happening with the palm oil now is an emerging story but we will make sure we bust all the barons in this trade,” Mrs Appiah stressed.
She said the investigations would also help to establish how the suspects came by the dye, and that if the traders were found culpable, they could be slapped with administrative charges on their respective operations or be processed for court.
Mrs Appiah, however, urged consumers to be vigilant and look out for unwholesome products, including food items, at the various markets.
She explained that restaurants and other food joints were expected to provide food hygiene chemists in all their establishments, and that the intensification of surveillance on expired and unwholesome products on the market had been activated in all the regions.
Mrs Appiah said some traders and business entities had introduced sales promotions at reduced prices during the festivities to attract customers.
She said the FDA had, therefore, increased its monitoring activities to safeguard the public from purchasing unwholesome products.
“We are also aware that some people will like to use this period to smuggle goods into the country without paying the appropriate duties and hide such goods under consignments that belong to multiple people, which eventually end up on the markets,” Mrs Appiah noted.
Mrs Appiah revealed that some new guidelines were being developed on the processes of clearing personal effects from the various ports.
She said, for instance, that there were guidelines on ensuring that individuals coming into the country with rice weighing five kilogrammes would not have more than 10 bags at a time.
Earnings from yam exports could hit $78m using Geographical Indications
Revenue generation and sources of development funding are the most topical issues currently dominating public discourses in the country.
Various development stakeholders are, therefore, required to assist policymakers in search of innovative solutions to the nation’s economic and financial heartaches.
It is against this background that those working in the Industrial Property Right (IPR) protection space wish to uncover some low-hanging revenue fruits that the nation could innovatively harvest.
Geographical Indications (GIs) are signs used on products from a particular geographical origin with specific qualities or a reputation that are essentially attributed to the place of origin.
This form of intellectual property protects the uniqueness, reputation and other characteristics that easily differentiate a product from other similar ones on the market.
The GIs largely protect food and non-food products, especially of rural origin. The GIs increase revenues for local producers and satisfy the needs of conscious and demanding customers.
The system facilitates the originality of producers and improves the quality of production using various branding tools in the form of origin labelling and Collective Trademarks.
Over 3,400 GI products have been registered within the EU, 320 in India and about 2,533 in China. Africa largely has potential products for instance, in Cameroun, Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique and Guinea, with few registered as GI products.
A worldwide study in 2018 on the economic impact of GIs showed that on the average, prices doubled (in some cases tripled) for products compared with similar products that are not GI registered.
French GI cheeses are sold at an average of two euros per kilo more than French non-GI cheeses. French “Poulet de Bresse” (a type of chicken) has a market price four times higher than regular French chicken.
Producers of Italian “Tuscano” olive oil have managed to increase prices for their olive oil by 20 per cent since it was registered as a GI in 1998.
In other instances, the case of a traditionally not-export-oriented country like Spain is striking: in 1991 (five years after accession to the EU), exports of GI products amounted to 443 million euros and in 1999 more than 1.0 billion euros.
Unique case of pona
The yam crop (Dioscorea spp.) is an important crop generating income for over 60 million people.
Nigeria and Ghana are the leading producers in the world. Global yam production increased from 15.3 million tonnes in 1971 to 74.8 million tonnes in 2020.
Ghana produces about eight million tonnes of yam annually. The country’s yam production has increased significantly over the period. In 2018 and 2019, production was about 7,858,209 and 8,288,198 metric tonnes compared with previous years.
Yams from Ghana are mainly exported to the United Kingdom, South Africa, Italy and the United States.
The main varieties exported include: #1. Pona, #2. Larebako, #3. Asana, #4. Dente and #5. Muchumudu.
Although Nigeria produces high volumes of yam (over 70 per cent of global production), Ghana exports more yam in the sub-region.
There is continuous demand for fresh yam produce from West Africa in Europe, North America and in some parts of Asia.
Global exports of Yam were valued at US$177M. As the lead exporter of Yam, Ghana has a world share of 22.1 per cent with our export value to the global markets as at 2019 standing at US$39.1M.
The unique characteristics of a product is critical in building a successful GI system.
The exportable varieties of Ghanaian yams mentioned above are noted to be of high quality in both domestic and export markets, with the “Pona” variety mostly preferred due to its unique taste, the texture, and colour of flesh after cooking.
The characteristic taste is most preferred. Others include the origin, (which is Ghana) and the size of the tuber as same sizes are carefully selected for the export market. These features form the “specific product quality”, which is key for a successful GI or origin product.
The annual value of agri-food products protected as GIs within the European Union stands at €27.34 billion.
Ghana can earn more than twice the current export value in foreign exchange from export of yam annually. The current export value of yam is about US$39.1million.
The country could earn twice this current value for the same export volumes at same price if the Yams were protected with GIs. Having an origin label would augment prices on the global market at over $78M.
It is highly projected that this figure would increase as the countries of export may drastically increase through the current arrangement within the international corridors of trade between Ghana and her partners within the intellectual property structures for origin labelling.
The Industrial Property Office of the Registrar General’s Department has the overall mandate to identify, develop, register and protect origin labelled products for Ghana.
With the current existing legal environment, Ghana must, as a matter of urgency, support the relevant agencies of state to harness this great opportunity to benefit the nation.
This will help to improve her food systems, while creating lots of decent jobs and employment for the teaming youth.
Source: Graphic Online
Prepare for hunger in Ghana – GAWU warns
Ghanaians should prepare for hunger this year if immediate steps are not taken by the government to invest in the agriculture sector of the economy, the General Secretary of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Mr Edward Kareweh, has said.
In his view, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce agriculture output in Ghana due to the low investments in the sector.
Contributing to a discussion on the impact of the ongoing geopolitical tension between Russia and Ukraine on food supply in Ghana, Mr Kareweh said on TV3’s New day show with Johnnie Hughes on Monday May 16 that “As we speak, the food you are eating was not produced in 2022. There will be hunger, already there is hunger and the hunger will be more because I don’t foresee government getting money to support farmers to produce.”
He added “there is deliberate policy to reduce out put. When you refuse to invest what are you doing?”
He further said that Ghana does not have enough food available to feed the people for even one month without importing more food commodities.
The reality is that a lot of food items are imported into the country therefore, when upheavals and other economic challenges occur in those countries, automatically they become Ghana’s issues, Mr Kareweh added.
“The realty is that we do not have enough food in this country. The reality is that we import so much into this country. So if there is a problem in those country you import those problems,” he said.
Pig farmers attribute hike in price of pork to high cost of feed
The Pig Farmers Association of Ghana is attributing the recent increase in the price of pork per kilo to the increase in the ingredients for feed, among other factors.
The Association says it has resorted to some price adjustments of between 15% and 23% to make up for the rise in feed prices.
“As the leadership of the Association, we cannot sit unconcern and watch while businesses of our members fold up as a result of an increase in feed prices and in some cases feed shortage, the reason we have increased the prices per kilo of pork,” President of the Association Kwame Appiah Danquah told Citi News.
“Food ingredients have gone extremely high, and some farmers have decided to fold up, so we did the calculations and decided on price adjustment between 15% to 25%. These adjustments will only keep us in business and not make profit till things change then we can start making profit,” Kwame Appiah Danquah added.
The leadership also expressed worry over what they say is neglect by government for the sector and the fact that they also struggle in getting retail outlets in the various malls to purchase their products.
“We are worried that the government has not been supporting us as expected. One of our challenges is the fact that we cannot get the retail outlets at the mall to purchase our products, and they prefer the foreign products to ours” the President of the Pig Farmers Association said.
The association wants government to consider importing some of the feed ingredients to make up for the scarcity.
“We have not only been struggling with price fluctuation, but also the issue of availability of feed. The feed initially used to come regularly, but we don’t know what changed, and we are hoping government will support by importing the feed to support the ones here. We are sometimes forced to slaughter our animals for lack of feed and this is not good,” the President of the association said.
Some members of the association across the country have expressed varied opinions on how the sector should be run and how government can meet them halfway.
The Central Regional Chairman of the Association who is also the National Secretary of the Association, Ing. George Ayarik expressed worry over why the government’s Rearing for food initiative has not partnered with the association to feed the second cycle institutions with pork, which according to them is no a protein source.
“I was fed on pork during my secondary school days, but I don’t know what changed, and I am urging the government to support us. This will also ease the burden on the other meat supplies such as chicken, beef among others,” the National Secretary said.
The Volta Regional Chairman of the Association, Alexander Kay Jay, urged members of the Association to consider pig farming as a business in other to make returns.
“I want to urge my colleagues to take pig farming as a business because it is only through this that we can survive.”
Source: Citinewsroom. com
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