The International Executive Service Corps (IESC), a non-profit organisation, has been awarded a two-year program that will improve the quality of Ghanaian fruit and vegetables for export. The Improving Food Safety Systems Program, valued at US$2.8 million, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will draw on the IESC’s half-century tradition of international volunteer expertise.
Ghana currently struggles to administer and enforce food safety regulations, and horticultural exports often are rejected due to food safety and quality concerns.
The programme 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.
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.
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.
IESC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to equitable, sustainable economic growth in developing countries and believes that a robust private sector is the cornerstone of resilient economies and stable countries.
IESC strengthens businesses and public and private institutions by working in areas of trade and enterprise, information communication and applied technologies, financial services, tourism, and public sector and business enabling environment.