IESC's new program will improve food safety and grow Ghana's agricultural exports. Photo by CIAT/Flickr
The two-year, $2.8 million program will draw on IESC’s half-century tradition of international volunteer expertise.
Ghana is brimming with potential for commercial fruit and vegetable production and export. Nearly 70 percent of Ghana’s land is suitable for growing crops, and more than half of the population works in the agricultural sector. However, in order for the country to export its products internationally, they must meet international food safety standards.
IESC has been awarded a two-year program that will improve the quality of Ghanaian fruit and vegetables for export. Ghana currently struggles to administer and enforce food safety regulations, and horticultural exports often are rejected due to food safety and quality concerns. The Improving Food Safety Systems Program, which is funded by USAID, will support cooperation between Ghana’s public and private sectors to help put in place a strong system to identify when and where food safety and quality problems are introduced—at growing, harvesting, processing, or packaging. Without such a system, it will be difficult for Ghana to increase its agricultural exports and provide better produce for local market consumers.
Drawing on IESC’s robust registry of about 7,000 highly skilled volunteer experts, IESC will work with the Government of Ghana to strengthen the food safety compliance system for Ghanaian fruits and vegetables, and will provide training to private exporters and farmers on good agricultural practices. Understanding the increased market potential of those practices will encourage farmers and other producers to adopt them.
Altogether, volunteer experts will contribute more than 1,000 days of service to the program, building on IESC’s 52-year tradition of fielding experienced experts to advise businesses and organizations and stimulate economic growth in developing countries.
The program is awarded through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance, of which IESC is a lead member, and is part of USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project. The 30-year-old Farmer-to-Farmer Program draws upon the expertise of U.S. volunteers to help developing countries and emerging economies strengthen their agricultural sectors.
IESC will implement the program in partnership with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, the largest historically black land-grant university in the United States. FAMU will provide farmer training and technical expertise to introduce appropriate control measures to ensure the safety of Ghana’s horticultural exports.