Business News of Sunday, 23 July 2006
Accra, July 24, GNA - The Indigenous Caterers Association of Ghana (ICAG) is to liase with the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) to register and classify indigenous caterers using the grading criteria of the Board for the hospitality sector.
Mrs Edith Addo, President of ICAG, stated this at the closing of a workshop for members of the Association with Resource Personnel from the Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT), the training wing of the Ministry of Tourism for the hospitality industry. She said that this would enable the indigenous caterers to improve their standard since they would have to maintain them to qualify for awards and other support of the GTB for the sector. The President of ICAG, stressed the need for caterers to have regular medical check ups to ensure their own state of health and to avoid passing on communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid to people who patronised their food.
Mrs Addo stated, "what we have learned would help us in our work and Ghana if we want the country to be a leading place for tourists". She said that apart from enabling them to get more income to look after themselves and their families, it would also help the country to get more foreign exchange from tourism.
Ms Fati Dakubu, Acting Director of HOTCATT, said the Institute was concerned about standards in the informal catering sector and said majority of the population depended on the sector for their meals, there was the need to ensure standards and the quality food they served to protect the health of the people.
Ms Dakubu said the programme, which would be organised nationwide had become imperative in view of the country's 50th Independence anniversary next year and the anticipated influx of tourists in the country to mark the celebration.
She noted that the hospitality industry was an important aspect of tourism promotion and said if the country was to derive maximum benefits from the sector then those engaged in indigenous catering services had to be assisted to improve their standards to an acceptable level. The Acting Director of HOTCATT stated that the workshop was to ensure that those who cooked and handled food for public consumption maintained personnel hygiene, clean kitchen environment and controlled food additives properly among other things.
Mr Francis A Djangmah, General Secretary of ICAG, appealed to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to ensure that corn millers and operators of vegetable grinding mills worked in a hygienic environment. He said AMA should enforce its sanitation by-laws strictly since most of the common diseases were contracted through the food people ate.
The ICAG General Secretary appealed to the Ministry of Tourism to assist indigenous caterers to put up model structures to sell local food at strategic locations during the country's 50th Independence anniversary and the African Nation Football tournament slated for 2008. He called on the participants to put what they had learnt at the workshop into practice to justify the holding of similar workshops throughout the country.
Mr Lomo Tettey of the Environmental Health Unit of the AMA stressed the need for caterers to obtain the Medical Certificate to enable them to operate since it was an offence to handle food for public consumption without it. 24 Jul 06