GHANA – Under the slogan “Safe Fish, Better Health,” the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has introduced the Safe Fish Certification and Licensing Scheme (SFCLS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in Ghana.
As part of the program, fish processors will adopt a code of conduct to adhere to safety and sanitation requirements that lower pollutants.
While the Ghana Standards Authority certifies the standards for export, the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority certifies the implementation of these standards for the domestic market.
This accreditation promotes access to higher-value markets in Ghana and makes it easier for Ghana to export fish to other markets.
Moses Anim, the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, and Paul Pleva, the Director of USAID’s Economic Growth Office, spoke at the event.
“We all know that fish is an important food here in Ghana. It is also a particularly important food for pregnant women and children because it is an inexpensive and readily available source of high-quality protein.
“USAID is committed to working with all of you to ensure food security and a healthy, nutritious diet for Ghanaians,” said USAID’s Paul Pleva.
Since 2009, USAID has assisted the Ghanaian government in its fisheries efforts. Mr. Anim noted that the Certification and Licensing Scheme which was developed from the 2019 pilot of the “Class One” recognition scheme, would ensure the production of safe fish and healthy seafood.
“The government has prioritized the National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA) to change the fortunes of women in the fisheries value chain. Thus the Ministry supports the implementation of this scheme as a key intervention to address food safety issues in our small-scale fish processing sector,” he added.
In order to ensure that fish processors are eligible for certification, Mr. Paul Bannerman, the Deputy Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission (FC), explained that the FC, working in conjunction with the Ghana Fisheries Recoveries Activity (GFRA), would strengthen the capacity of fish processors by providing training on hygienic fish handling and good processing practices prior to facility auditing.
He reiterated the Commission’s intention to create internal procedures for facility audits and certification requests.
Fishermen, consumer advocacy organizations, and government representatives from the four coastal regions attended the event, which was designed to raise awareness and promote the production and consumption of safe and hygienic fish on the local and African regional markets.
Additionally, there was a display of certified fish products for sale in regional and international markets, along with cookery demonstrations using certified processed fish.