The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has dismissed claims and publications that it had entered into an agreement with a third party to import large quantities of pork from the United States (US).
The ministry, in a statement, explained that the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) requested veterinary medical officers in the USA for certification for meat and poultry healthiness intended to be exported to Ghana.
“MoFA categorically denies the validity of the allegation as it has not signed any such agreement with any party. For clarity, the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) of MoFA has on record a request from Dr Charmaine McJee, Veterinary Medical Officer, Export Development of FSISUSDA, Washington, for Certification for Meat and Poultry Wholesomeness intended to be exported to Ghana, which was granted following laboratory analysis of samples,” the release clarified.
The statement added that it is an obligation of VSD to render the requested services professionally in accordance with the ethics of the Organization of World Animal Health, for which Ghana is a member.
“Rather, unfortunately, the VSD legal mandate has been misconstrued. We, therefore, take this opportunity to assure the general public that no agreement has been signed between the ministry and any party for the unbridled importation of pork to flood the Ghanaian market”.
MoFA assured that it would never undermine the Ghanaian pig farmer’s efforts and narrow market opportunities.
On February 8, stakeholders in the domestic piggery industry threatened legal action, which could result in a total import blockade on pork products across board – should the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) fail to disclose detailed information on a recent agreement to buy large quantities of pork from the United States.
Two of such stakeholder civil society organisations (CSOs) – the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) and National Pig Farmers Association (NPFA) – have said they are being frustrated by MoFA in their quest to obtain full information and documents on the agreement.
On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, various media publications reported that MoFA had reached an agreement with the USDA, confirming that the Ghanaian market is officially open to US exports of pork and pork products in addition to other meat products.
The agreement was reached with MoFA as the result of a request made by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service on October 24, 2022, for Ghana to allow pork products to be imported in large quantities.
The report said the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Veterinary Services Directorate of MoFA signed and responded to the request on January 12, 2023 – that the country will not only accept pork products onto its market but also others, including beef, goat, lamb and poultry.
Whereas the USDA has noted the agreement is an opportunity that will be exploited by businesses from the US, the deal has sparked concerns among stakeholders of possible dumping – with calls on local authorities to be vigilant.