The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Government of Ghana and Government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), on Tuesday launched the Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) to improve standards and quality of exports.
The GQSP is a new innovative global programme developed by UNIDO and funded by SECO that addresses country-specific quality and standards compliance capacity challenges in partner countries to facilitate market access for SMEs in selected value chains.
As part of the launch, a short ceremony was held to outdoor COCOBOD Quality Control Company Limited accredited laboratory and cocoa inspection activities supported by UNIDO and SECO.
In an address, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Philipp Stalder, said that Switzerland is committing a budget of CHF 1.5 million to the new GQSP in Ghana.
He noted that a sound national quality infrastructure system is one of the most important tools a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing global trade and sustaining an economy.
“Our new project will focus on strengthening the quality and standards compliance capacity of national quality institutions,” Mr. Stalder said.
“We hope that this will result in facilitating market access for SMEs in the cashew, oil palm and cocoa value chains,” he added.
The Project Manager of the GQSP Ghana, Juan Pablo Dávila Sánchez, said the new country project will build on the results of the Trade Capacity Building (TCB) Programme implemented in Ghana from 2007 to 2018 by UNIDO in partnership with the Government of Ghana by focusing on cashew, oil-palm and cocoa value chains and continue to strengthen the development of quality and standards.
“The support from the TCB programme under the second phase is what supported the COCOBOD-QCC Inspectorate Division achieved accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 making it the accredited inspection body for the cocoa value chain,” Mr. Dávila said.
He added that as a continuation of these laudable efforts under the umbrella of the GQSP and in line with the Government’s 10-year cashew development plan, SECO and UNIDO now foresee updating inspection scheme to include cashew which has become one of the most important agricultural exportable crops in the country and Ghana’s leading agricultural Non-Traditional Export (NTE).
Mr. Dávila explained that the GQSP consists of two distinct components which allow SECO and UNIDO to tackle quality and standards related challenges at a national, regional and global level, especially along the selected value chains.
“It has also been designed to address country-specific standards and quality compliance issues by implementing tailor-made interventions and these components will facilitate synergies, enhance, coherence among the interventions and lead to increased efficiencies in projects being implemented,” he said.
In Ghana, the project will strengthen the capacity of SMEs to comply with market requirements along the cashew, oil palm and cocoa value chains.
It will also develop relevant standards and quality infrastructure service providers will be supported to provide internationally recognized services.
The GQSP country programme will end in March 2022.
It will be implemented by UNIDO in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) and funded by the Government of Switzerland through SECO.