Entrepreneurs in the Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) have been urged to package their food products to promote its safe handling, storage and transportation.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs Delese Darko, accessing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as SMEs required high standards in packing and enhance competiveness at the industry and enterprise level by exploring opportunities for large scale production continental market access.
She said this at a two-day workshop for entrepreneurs on product packaging in Accra yesterday, and it aimed at introducing the latest international standards in food packaging and safety to the FDA, GSA to support local brand and consumers.
It was also to build the capacity of the participants on packaging.
The programme was on the theme “Building capacity in flexibility package to enhance food safety and quality for SMEs in Africa Free Trade Area.”
The programme was organised by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in collaboration with Epac -Ghana, Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), with support from Ecobank.
It was attended by participants across the country, from the Ghana Enterprise Agency, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, academia, Food and Drugs Authority.
Mrs Darko said as food regulators, they knew that food lasted longer and stayed fresher when packaged well.
She said the workshop would strengthen the capacity in flexibility packing choices to promote safe handling, storage and transportation of food products.
The Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Ghana, Mr Kofi Essuman, in a presentation on the topic “Overview of packaging,” said food packaging constituted the highest application in the global packaging market.
He said global packaging market size was valued at $757 billion in 2016, and was expected to reach $1,014 billion by 2023.
Mr Essuman said Asian countries were the lead in packaging on the market due to the rising demand for convenient foods, labelled products and increase in dairy products in developing countries, such as India and China.
He said packaging created value and enhanced economic growth by facilitating merchandise trade.
“The packaging market in Africa is relatively small but is experiencing massive growth driven by an expanding population of youthful consumers, increased demands for consumer products and growing domestic economies, particularly sub-Sahara Africa,” he added.
The Director General of the GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo, in his remarks, stressed the need to create a system for packaging, adding that it had been a problem over the years.
He said the SMEs were providing quality production, but the packaging was the problem.
Prof. Dodoo said SMEs must improve export and must not cut corners to help promote their businesses in the country.
“It is time to change our narrative and do things differently,” he emphasised.
The Managing Director of Ecobank, Mr Daniel Sackey, said the SMEs were crucial drivers in the country’s economy, and urged entrepreneurs to engage with the banks to support them increase their productivities.
The Chief Finance Officerof Epac- Ghana, Mrs Velda Sosah, said the workshop served as a reminder to us of the importance of establishing and implementing a robust food safety agenda and equipping the SMEs to compete.