The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with support from the Switzerland government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has commissioned an ultra-modern laboratory at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -Soil Research Institute (SRI) in Kumasi on Thursday.
The upgrade of the CSIR- SRI laboratory by UNIDO through the Trade Capacity Building (TCB) Programme for Ghana is part of an ongoing strategy to strengthen the country’s testing laboratories to provide reliable and internationally accepted tests for sustainable value chains for exports.
The laboratory refurbished with modern equipment and technical assistance from UNIDO now implement laboratory quality management system which is in compliance with international standards.
The institute also has the capacity to effectively conduct soil classification, land evaluation, soil fertility management, soil mechanization and water management, environment and climate change laboratory analytical services.
The TCB programme is supporting Ghana to improve compliance with trade-related standards and supports Ghana’s economic development and integration into world markets by developing a competitive and sustainable export economy.
The programme with a dedicated total amount of US$ 9.8 million by the Switzerland government through SECO has strengthened Ghana’s export capacities.
It has since its inception enhanced export potential of targeted sustainable value chains for fruits, cocoa, fish and wood products.
It has also provided specific technical assistance to support the conformity assessment institutions in the country in areas of standards, certification, inspection, accreditation and testing.
Beneficiaries of the programme include the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), which obtained accreditation for its management system certification body, product certification, it’s testing laboratories in areas of pesticide residue analysis, microbiology, mycotoxin testing and increased its capacity in standard development as well as upgrading its textile testing laboratory.
The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture(MoFA) has also improved its inspection methods for exported fruits and vegetables, upgraded its seed testing laboratory for the analysis of quality seeds and is working towards becoming a European Union (EU) competent authority in the field of horticulture.
Other beneficiaries of the UNIDO/MoTI Trade Capacity Building Project are the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), CSIR – Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), Forestry Commission -Timber Industry Development Division and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) which has an established national traceability system that ensures that exported horticultural products can always be traced back to the farms and developing a digital market hub for Ghana.
In addition, the programme has provided support to some manufacturing companies in Ghana to obtain food safety and management system certification.
UNIDO’s primary objective is the promotion and acceleration of industrial development in developing countries and the promotion of international industrial cooperation.
UNIDO has since 2007 been implementing the trade capacity building programme funded by the Switzerland Government through SECO in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the supporting government agency and the lead policy advisor to the government on trade, industrial and private sector development with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies for the promotion, growth, and development of domestic and international trade, and industry.
This UNIDO/SWISS/MOTI collaboration, therefore, is geared towards improving technical and human capacity in the trade and export industry in Ghana.