FDA SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT'S INDUSTRIAL DRIVE THROUGH THE PROGRESSIVE LICENSE SCHEME INITIATIVE

On the 12th of November 2020, at the TC Corquaye Conference room of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), fifty-six (56) cottage and small-scale food processors received certification under the Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) at a small ceremony.

The PLS which was launched in July 2020 is a Government of Ghana initiative, implemented by the FDA to introduce a three (3) staged licensing regime to support small business units. The PLS was established to encourage small-scale and cottage sized food processors to be compliant with the food safety and quality standards of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) in the interest of public health and safety.

The event saw representatives of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Food Research Institute (FRI), Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Food Protection Agency (WFPA), Food and Beverage Association Ghana (FBAG) and Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) as well as the FDA in attendance.

The CEO of the FDA, Mrs. Delese A. A. Darko in her address stressed on the importance of the cottage and small-scale food processing sector as it serves as a hub for the thriving local industry. She said it remained an essential component of the nation's growth, hence the need to provide the necessary support in ensuring that they conform to safety and quality requirements.

She assured the stakeholders of FDA's desire to advance and grow the local food industry's growth, thus the introduction of the subsidized registration cost for all locally manufactured products. She added that the FDA is collaborating with the GEA to further ease the financial strain of SMEs and as such have absorbed part of the licensing fee of 500 member facilities of the GEA to the tune of One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Cedis (GH 1,650,000) aimed at empowering local industry growth.

The aim of the FDA is to see acceleration in the growth of the local food industry with the ambition of soon having all grocery shops and supermarkets having at least 60% of made in Ghana food products on their shelves and in their stock.

The Deputy Executive Director of the GEA, Mrs. Anna Amo Himson, emphasized the importance of the collaboration and urged all cottage and small-scale food processors to seize the opportunity to become certified and receive the necessary help they needed to take their products to the next level.

The Board Chairman of the FDA, Dr. Sammy Ohene in his opening remark, stated that merely four months after its launch, the PLS has seen a successful implementation, which has led to the licensing of 56 Cottage and Small-Scale manufactures under a three-stage regime namely Pink, Yellow and Green.

He commended the FDA for coming up with the initiative and the government for the financial support. He said the PLS is a step in the right direction to improving the well-being of cottage and small-scale food processors without compromising food safety. He also encouraged the cottage and small-scale food processor to comply with the rules and regulations of the Authority, whilst the FDA strives to ensure that the objective behind the implementation of the scheme is achieved.

Some participants also shared their experiences and excitement regarding the scheme. One notable example was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Granny's Granola, who recounted how the birth of her second child, kept her from work due to health issues. She recalled how her desire to survive birthed her granola business. She stated, however, that though excited about her new business, the cost of registration at the time was beyond her financial strength. This spelt trouble for her as shops would always request for her certificate as a prerequisite for accepting to stock her products. With the introduction of the PLS, not only has she received certification but she is also now able to sell her granola anywhere in the world. She encouraged other small-scale manufacturers to visit the FDA offices to register their products as the Authority seeks their best interests.

A representative from Ghana Dreams Disability Development Foundation, said it was an exciting day for people with disabilities, as the innovation of the FDA has enabled the smooth and gratis registration of their product. He added that it would go a long way to help their foundation in creating jobs for physically challenged persons.
At the end of the ceremony Mrs. Darko, called on the cooperation and collaboration of the industry to actively contribute to the continuous successful implementation of this new scheme.

She added that the FDA would continue to explore various scientific and risk based innovative ways to support industry without compromising on safety and quality. She also hinted that soon these benefits would be extended to include cottage and small-scale manufacturers of cosmetics and household chemical substances.

The ceremony concluded with an assurance made to stakeholders that the Authority would work earnestly towards achieving the mandate of ensuring public health and safety.

Other sources for tihs news -https://issuu.com/business24online/docs/business24__epaper-mon-nov16-2020/2

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