Parliamentary C’ttee to invite Agric Ministry over leafy vegetable ban
Parliament’s Food and Agriculture Committee will soon invite the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto to provide explanation for government’s decision to ban the export of leafy vegetables. The controversial suspension of export of the products was announced last week by the Ministry. The Ministry has explained that the decision had become necessary as a result of unhealthy and unwholesome practices by some exporters. The invitation to the parliamentary committee is to get the Ministry to clarify the suspension which has been criticized by exporters. Chairman of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament, Kwame Asafo-Adjei in a Citi News interview said, “for the Minister to impose a ban, it means something has gone wrong somewhere so at the appropriate time, we will invite the Ministry to come and provide some explanation.” A statement from the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Agric Ministry said that Ghana risks a ban by the European Union if the anomalies are not checked. Speaking to Citi News, Press Secretary at the Ministry, Issah Ridwan, said numerous engagements with exporters to alter their ways of doing things have proved futile. “We had a number of meeting to re-emphasise the need for them to do the right thing, otherwise we could find ourselves in a similar situation we found ourselves in 2014. It looks like the warning fell on deaf ears. “So we as a ministry in consultations with the plant protection and regulative service division realized that there was a need for us to put in place some proactive measure because we realized the signals were getting really bad. So there was the need for us to put a suspension on the export of these selected vegetables until we realize the right things are done so that we will not incur the wrath that we did in 2014,” he said. The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana has criticized the blanket ban. The Association said identifying defaulting exporters and penalizing them is a better option. The last time the EU imposed a ban on Ghana on the importation of five vegetables, the country lost more than 30 million dollars. This time around, the ban is on all leafy vegetables and some selected groups of chilli pepper and cucumbers.