Hortifresh inaugurates food safety Taskforce

Accra Management of HortiFresh in consultation with public and private actors in the food safety and certification sector has inaugurated Food Safety Taskforce in Accra.

The Taskforce is to develop strategies and activities to address current and emerging food safety and certification challenges in the horticulture sector.

It is also to develop strategies, programmes and communique to address current and emerging bottlenecks in food safety.

Mr Samuel Asante Mensah, the Hortifresh Advisory Board Chair, speaking at the inauguration, commended the management of Hortifresh for taking up this initiative.

He also commended the members of the taskforce for taking up the voluntary role to help promote safety in the horticulture sector.

The Board Chair tasked them to be dedicated and committed to their various roles and support, to achieve food security for the country.

Mrs. Sheila Assibey Yeboah, the Programme Manager of Hortifresh, said the objectives of the Taskforce was to review the food safety situation in the country and promote both international and domestic standards of fruit and vegetables.

She indicated that the Taskforce would coordinate campaigns and consumer education on food safety, as well as support the enforcement of food safety standards that existed in the country.

“Hortifresh plays a facilitating role to activities of the Taskforce,” she added.

Mr Abdulali Abdul Rahaman, the Policy Officer in charge of Agribusiness at the Netherlands Embassy, said it was important to enhance institutional efforts to improve the food safety situation of fruits and vegetables in Ghana.

He said the Taskforce would push the agency for food safety and consumer confidence.

He expressed appreciation for the initiative to all stakeholders gathered and challenged them to make the horticulture sector more attractive also in the context of youth employment.

Mr Harry Bleppong, Director in Charge of Horticulture, said the safety of the food consumed had been of great concern to all worldwide over time.

He assured the consuming public of the safety of the food they consume, adding that major actors in the food value chain had taken measures such as the stringent production, import and export requirements and regulations crucial.

He said in Ghana ‘we have our peculiar issues with food safety including the use of sewage water in vegetable production, the loading of vegetables with pesticides, the use of banned chemicals in production has been topical issues in the vegetable production.

“We have collaborated as industry players in finding solutions to some of the very difficult issues that has confronted us,” he added.

He expressed the hope that the taskforce would not be different.

He said the Taskforce will be used to facilitate the work of the mandated institutions in finding solutions to challenges facing the fruit and vegetable industry and the concerns of the consuming public.

Mr. Bleppong said it was important to note that the foremost responsibility of the safety of the food we consume was with the consumers, and the safety of food could be compromised at any stage along value and supply chain even to the point of the dining table.

The task force is made up of various stakeholders from research and knowledge institutions, export associations, processors and retailers of fruit and vegetables regulatory authorities and agencies, development partners and agro input dealers.

Source: Ghana News Agency