The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has explained why travellers carrying food, especially plants and plant products, at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are obliged to declare at a fee.
The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry in a rejoinder to a story published on Sunday by 3news.com indicated the practice is backed by law.
“The fact is – Exporters/Travellers carrying or exporting Plants and Plants products (raw and semi processed plants and produce) are required by law to declare such items to Plant Quarantine Officers for inspection, if the items are found to be free from pest and diseases a phytosanitary certificate is issued and a charge of GHS50.00 is paid for the Phyto certificate by the traveller,” the rejoinder explained.
www.3news.com had gathered from some travellers who use the newly opened Terminal 3 of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that they are required to declare their food including gari to some representatives of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at a flat fee GHȻ50 in return for a phyto-certificate.
Some travellers had reportedly resisted the payment until authorities intervened to explain things to them.
According to the travellers, who initially declined to make the payment, it was their first time experiencing it.
But the inistry insists the inspection of plant and plant products including food items and the issuance of phytosanitary certificate is not new as suggested in the 3news.com story, but has been in existence since 1965.
“This practice did not start at Terminal 3 as stated in the story but has been in existence since the establishment of Act 307 in 1965,” it emphasized.
The Ministry used the opportunity to advise would-be travellers, to declare their raw and semi processed food items to the Plant Quarantine Officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at the exit points (Airport and Tema Harbour) for inspection and certification.
This, it says ,will prevent the destruction of the items at the country of destination.