According to the CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Gideon Quarcoo, the country risks a future ban “if we do not conform to quality standards”.
The European Union (EU) issued 322 alerts to Ghana within a space of two months this year, creating a huge concern for policymakers as the EU bloc remains the country’s single biggest market for non-traditional exports.
The alerts are often issued by the EU as a precursor for a ban when goods from importing countries fall below acceptable standards.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Gideon Quarcoo, the country risks a future ban “if we do not conform to quality standards”.
Mr. Quarnoo in a note of caution to exporters explained to the B&FT that: “If we keep receiving alerts, the target country will have to act on it. Beyond this, when they see a recurrence then you could potentially experience a ban of that particular item or items, which will be dire in terms of impact on the economy.
“If we are talking about an export-driven economy, then it means the export sector must be robust, free of obstacles and any hindrance. But a ban will be a hindrance, because that would mean the drying-up of the revenue stream that used to come from that particular product, so it is a very serious issue for us as a nation.”
Between 2014-2013, the EU market accounted for about 38.03 percent of goods from Ghana, despite the country receiving over 322 alerts between February and March this year.
Figures from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority show the value of exports to the EU increased from a little above US$768million in 2013 to more than US$955million in 2014.
At the same time, the value of exports to other developed countries declined by 28.58 percent; from the 2013 figure of US$258.6million to US$184.7 million at the end of 2014, while exports of non-traditional goods to ECOWAS countries also went down -- by 10.5 percent from US$848million to US$759.5million last year.
Mr. Quarnoo expressed optimism at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s move to collaborate with other allied agencies to try and work on the problems that have become a concern to both the EU and Ghanaian authorities.
“My hope, though, is we do it very aggressively, because the winds that are blowing in the EU can overtake us if we don’t do it quickly and aggressive enough,” he said.
Ghana’s non-traditional produce in 2014 were exported to 138 countries. These countries include the European Union (EU), other developed countries, Ecowas and other African countries, and countries outside Africa.
The performance of the non-traditional sector by markets indicated that the European Union and ECOWAS markets absorbed 38.03% and 30.22% respectively of the country’s exports, making those two trading blocs the leading markets for Ghana’s non-traditional products.
A significant piece of Ghana’s non-traditional products can be found in horticultural items -- such as vegetables, pineapples, others -- all equalling 20% of the country’s exports.
Mr. Quarnoo disclosed that as part of the country’s export strategy, which is looking at doubling its export revenue between now and 2019 with a US$5billion target, there should be no room for reductions.
The taskforce to check export activities, he says, is at work, saying: “We are beginning to see signs. Plans are advanced to secure a spot at Kotoka Airport for construction of the sanitary and inspection quarantine facility, so progress is being made; but beyond that, there is a huge need for education, training of producers around this country”.
He appealed to the various districts across the country to develop an export project, which he reckons will increase the country’s revenue stream.