Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture has given an assurance that vegetables produced in the country are safe for consumption.
He said although the government had indefinitely suspended the export of Capsicum, Solanum, Luffa and leafy vegetables, it was not poisonous to consume them locally.
Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday in Accra, Dr Akoto explained that the ban had nothing to do with chemical poisoning but rather biological harmful organisms that had been detected in some vegetables.
He described the indefinite suspension of leafy vegetables as ‘self-regulating’.
“We are taking these measures purely due to biological organisms such as bactrocera fruit fly, tinda, turia, franklella occidentalls-thrips, found within our tropical zone but alien to the West”, Dr Akoto said.
“These are tropical insects we have lived with for over one hundred years but are foreign to the West. Just as it happens at the ports and airport, plants experts from the Plant Protection Unit ensure that alien species do not come into Ghana to contaminate the environment.
Dr Akoto expressed confidence that the steps taken were strict and comprehensive to ensure that the country produced high-value products to meet the standard of the international market.
The Minister said the new directive was a good exercise to prevent the international communities from imposing a ban on the country’s produce as was done two years ago.
“It is economically wise to pause and take corrective measures than to go ahead and export these produce with alien organisms for Ghana to be banned from exporting vegetables. That will be a huge loss to the economy,” he said.
Recognizing that the old systems of production of vegetables were failing, Dr Akoto said the government was going to meet with producers to train them on new agricultural approaches to ensure that farmers produce were up to the standards.