The EU lifting of ban on 5 agricultural products

The announcement yesterday that the European Union (EU) has lifted the ban on five Ghanaian plant exports to the European market must be welcome news to many Ghanaians.

According to the EU from January 1, 2018, Ghanaian farmers will be able to resume exports of all plant commodities to the EU market following the lifting of the ban on the five commodities from Ghana.

It named the five plants as chilli pepper, bottle gourds, luffa gourds, bitter gourds and eggplants that will now be exported duty free and given a quota free access to the EU market like any other product from Ghana.

However, the five commodities are expected to fulfill the EU phytosanitary legislation to ensure the freedom of quarantine pest.

But decision to lift the ban did not come easy. It has taken two years, from October 2015 when the commodities were banned until September this year, when an audit was conducted by the Directorate-General of Health and Food Safety of the EU.

More importantly, it has taken the hard work of all stakeholders to take corrective measures to improve inspection and control systems for plants health at exit points particularly at Kotoka International Airport.

As a matter of fact, the EU acknowledges that the situation today is far better than between 2012 and 2015, when it was detected that intercepted plants from Ghana at EU borders contain harmful organisms.

It is heartwarming that Ghanaian farmers can now export the five plants to the EU market without any hindrance.

The net effect of the EU decision is the impact it is going to have on all layers of the food chain.

The farmer, exporters, airlines and consumers in Europe are all going to benefit from the lifting of the ban.

It is the hope of the Ghanaian Times that Ghana would be able to maintain the standard that made it possible for the ban to be lifted.

The ban no doubt denied both the country and farmers huge revenues and might have affected businesses both in Ghana and in Europe.

Thankfully, the ban has been lifted and everyone would soon get back to business.

It is however very crucial, that with the resumption of the exports, Ghana is going to reap the full benefit of preferential access to the EU market.

This certainly is good news for the agric sector and the entire country.

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