GHANA – The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) recently convened a series of pivotal Technical Committee (TC) meetings focused on harmonizing standards across key sectors including cocoa, coffee, tea, cassava value chain products, ecolabelling, sustainability, and resilient systems.

Collaborating with the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), these meetings took place from March 25 to 28, 2024, in Ada, Ghana.

The gatherings brought together food and agriculture experts from various African nations, aiming to streamline and harmonize standards to improve the quality of products and facilitate intra-African trade.

Countries in attendance included Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, among others.

The deliberations centered on fostering a unified approach to standards across the cocoa, coffee, tea, cassava value chain products, as well as addressing ecolabelling, sustainability, and resilient systems within these industries.

In his address to stakeholders, Professor Alex Dodoo, ARSO President and Director-General of GSA, commended the efforts of the experts, highlighting ARSO’s role in championing standardisation on the continent.

He emphasized Africa’s potential to lead in setting global standards, transforming from mere standard takers to standard makers, thereby shaping the global landscape.

Dr. Hermogène Nsengimana, ARSO Secretary-General, lauded the experts’ contributions, citing a recent challenge to international cocoa standards that were not beneficial to farmers. This initiative led to the development of African Standards on Cocoa, demonstrating Africa’s capacity to drive positive change and create standards that directly benefit industries and communities.

Collaborative efforts for market access and growth

ARSO’s collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) highlights a broader commitment to harmonisation and certification of standards for dairy, horticulture, fisheries, and aquaculture products.

This initiative aims to build capacity among standardisation institutions and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), facilitating increased market access under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and fostering economic growth.

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