General News of Friday, 7 June 2019
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is implementing the Healthy street food incentives (HSFI) project, an intervention programme to induce behavioural change in vendors through training.
The project, being piloted in the Korle Klotey Sub-Metropolitan Assembly, seeks to address many of the challenges facing the street food sector, more specifically meant to develop a resource-efficient food monitoring system; stimulate the demand and offer of safe and nutritious fruit and vegetables; motivate street food vendors to register; and generate revenues to develop the sector.
It will improve the Food Safety System in the sector by imparting knowledge to the vendors through sensitisation/training workshops, empowering them enough to make Food Safety their business at their home as well as their vending sites.
The workshop is for members of the Indigenous Caterers Association and the Traditional Caterers Association in Accra to assist food vendors to increase knowledge in Good hygienic practices and nutrition to promote a healthy life.
At the end of the training session, vendors will be registered for the pilot project.
Mrs Isabella Mensah Agrah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, said street foods accounted for a significant proportion of the daily urban food consumption of millions of low and middle-income consumers thus, becoming the main source of Nutrition for majority of Ghanaians.
She said the project, among other things, would increase the number of vendors with vending permits compliant to Good Hygienic Practices and increase the sale and consumption of fruit and vegetables.
She urged all vendors to make Food Safety a key priority in doing their business from the purchase of raw materials at the markets through transportation, preparation and serving consumers.
That, she said, would strongly help in reducing foodborne disease outbreaks within the country, while they increase their customer base along with their income and consequently improving the national economy.
“Let us all be ambassadors of Food Safety to improve our health,” he added. In a speech read for Mr. Abebe Hailee-Gabriel, FAO Regional Representative to Africa said: “As we prepare to commemorate the first ever world food safety day tomorrow, June 7, it is critical to think of innovative ways of making our street food safe for all.”
He said in today’s fast-growing urbanisation street food has become one of the easiest and fastest ready to eat food for many middle working class and students but “this fast-growing sector is faced with many challenges such as informality and most importantly the nutritional safety of the food – which can pose health issues to consumers”.
“Whilst these street foods are considered as a crucial tool for poverty reduction and food security in many middle- income and developing countries, it is vital to support this fast-growing sector to meet safety standards.
Mr Hailee-Gabriel noted initiative to restructure the whole street food vending sector by making products nutritious and safe has come at an opportune time for the attainment of a zero- hunger world/poverty-reduction.
The attainment of food security and safety should never be reduced to individual success stories, but should rather be about collective effort from all stakeholders, he added.
“This registration exercise indeed synchronises with one of the recommendations of addressing the informality of the street food vending sector. This is one of the many objectives for this pilot project.”
“As we all join the global community in celebrating world food day, it is my hope we bear in mind that the fight to end hunger and malnutrition is attainable only when we work together, consumers and food vendors.”
Mr Hailee-Gabriel said the progress in attaining a food safety and secured nation/country indeed occurs step by step, and each victory becomes a platform upon which the next might be built.
“We can all rally behind this laudable initiative by FAO and FDA to make our street food more nutritious and safer until we have raised the safety standards of our street food high enough to transform the entire country into a food safety hub. “