GHANA – The Food and Drug Authority (FDA), Ghana, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ghana, and the Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly (KOKMA), has launched the Street Food Vending Permit, to promote good hygienic practices among vendors.
The event brought together over 50 street food vendors from the municipality and representatives from the Traditional and Indigenous Caterers Association of Ghana, a novelty body to promote Ghanaian indigenous foods and its safe consumption.
“Street food micro-industries are vital for the economic planning and development of many societies however, their contribution to our economy is largely underestimated,” says the FDA.
As part of efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of food security, good health and wellbeing, and inclusive development, the FDA, together with the FAO, initiated the Healthy Street Food Incentives project in 2018. Thus far, the project has among others assisted the FDA to conduct baseline studies and introduced digital management platforms for the management of the street food vending industry in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs. Delese Darko, in her welcome remarks noted that although the street food vending micro-industry is beleaguered by numerous challenges such as poor public infrastructure like lack of clean water sources, unsanitary vending locations, poor food handling and unhygienic practices among others, it has over the years proven its potential to contribute to economic sufficiency.
“Regulation can make street food safer, and it is in response to this, that the FDA together with FAO have been working tirelessly to instill best practices in their operations that will ensure that the food that the vendors prepare and sell is handled hygienically and safely to minimize foodborne illnesses in our communities,” she said.
She, therefore, urged participants to support this Street Food Vending Permit initiative that aims at promoting good hygienic practices to ensure that the industry is well supported to minimize the risks of spreading food-borne diseases while promoting safe, healthy and nutritious street food in the country.
Mr. Benjamin Adjei, the Deputy Country Representative of the FAO, added that street food vendors have increased in the last three and a half decades throughout Africa, due to continuous urbanization and has prospects of growth that must not be stifled. He, therefore, encouraged participants at the event to adhere to the hygienic practice that underpins this Street Vending Permit initiative and commit to working at growing their brands and businesses into future world-class franchises.
A total of 22 street food vendors received their permits and items such as aprons and veronica buckets to support their businesses. Veronica Bucket is a mechanism for hand washing developed by Veronica Bekoe, which consists of a bucket of water with a tap fixed at the bottom, mounted at hand height, and a bowl at the bottom to collect waste water.
The vendors received their permits and compliant stars following rigorous compliance checks and approvals of both FDA and KOKMA.
Street food vending
According to FAO, globally, a projected 2.5 billion people depend on street foods daily because of their affordability and accessibility. In urban Ghana, street food vending constitutes an increasingly popular informal business that provides an important source of income for many households and is dominated by women.
In spite of their economic contribution to the many households, studies have shown that some street food vendors lack basic understanding of proper food-handling practices and concerns about poor hygiene and spread of foodborne diseases continue to be the bane of this industry, leading to continuous increase in reported cases of food poisoning.