Tuesday, 29 April 2014

West Africa Quality Programme helps local Ghana company acquire international certification

Niche Cocoa Industry Limited, a cocoa processing company at the TEMA Free Zone in Ghana that produces high quality cocoa products such as natural cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa cake, is now an internationally ISO 22000 certified entity thanks to the support of UNIDO’s West Africa Quality Programme.

ISO 22000 is part of the family of International Standards that address food safety management. The consequences of unsafe food can be serious and ISO’s food safety management standards help organizations identify and control food safety hazards. As many of today's food products repeatedly cross national boundaries, International Standards are needed to ensure the safety of the global food supply chain.

Cocoa is the chief agricultural export of Ghana and the country's main cash crop. Behind Ivory Coast, Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world.

During an official visit to Ghana in March 2014, the Director General of UNIDO, LI Yong, visited the TEMA industrial park where he had a meeting with the Ghana Free Trade Board and representatives of two enterprises who provided firsthand experience of Government efforts to promote enterprises within industrial parks in Ghana. Meeting with private sector stakeholders, including the Association of Ghana Industries, Director General Li expressed UNIDO’s commitment to continue supporting private sector development in Africa.

Li also met with President John Dramani Mahama, and highlighted the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in realizing economic growth and employment. The Director General commended the ambition of the Government of Ghana to transform the economy and foster the creation of employment to achieve long-term socio-economic goals. He stressed the need for introducing policies to safeguard the environment and enhance green growth strategies in the country.

For over a decade, UNIDO has played a leading role in the implementation of quality assurance certification programmes in West Africa. Focusing largely on the agro-industry sector, the programme has provided technical expertise in accreditation, standardization, metrology, product testing, and quality promotion aimed at improving the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) produce quality assurance infrastructure.

Working in close partnership with ECOWAS to ensure the sustainability of the programme’s initiatives and achievements, the programme supports the development of an enabling business environment that allows enterprises to produce goods that meet market requirements, including public and private standards.

Posted April 2014