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Business News of Thursday, 22 October 2015

Source: B&FT

Poor labelling impedes Ghanaian exports

Kwesi Ahwoi, Ghana Kwesi Ahwoi, Ghana

Poor -- or lack of -- labelling stands in the way of Ghanaian exports to the EU and other markets, and is beginning to deal blows to Ghanaian products in South Africa as well.

“My colleague ambassador, quite recently I was sitting in my office and was told that your security agencies had raided our shops and were taking everything away. I tried to find out why. They said: your products are not labelled,” said Kwesi Ahwoi, Ghana’s Ambassador to South Africa.

“Some of them [Ghanaians] said nobody told them to label; they thought this was an extension of Ghana. Even when goods are expired, that is when Ghanaians buy; but in South Africa nobody buys expired products,” he said.

The occasion was a business forum in Accra on Monday organised by the Mail and Guardian of South Africa and other partners.

In attendance was South Africa’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms. Lulama Xingwana, as well as business people from both countries.

“Listen carefully Ghanaian business people, our products are not labelled. Do we label gari, yam, and plantain? But in South Africa the bread is labelled and it has an expiry period,” Kwesi Ahwoi said.

“You go to the shop and buy bread, it has an expiry period. So when I see that the expiry period is three days to the time and I know I can’t eat the bread in three days, I don’t buy that. I look for the latest one…that is how serious that country is in terms of labelling and packaging, and that is how unserious we are,” he said.

Also, on Tuesday at the offices of the Association of Ghana Industries, the concern about poor or lack of labelling came up at the launch of the 2016 GUBA EXPO -- an event that showcases Ghana-made products in the UK.

Chief Executive Officer of the GUBA EXPO, Dentaa Amoateng, said while her outfit is trying to provide a platform for Ghanaian businesses to take advantage of the UK market, they must pay attention to labelling their products.

“There is no way a consumer in the UK will buy your product without knowing what the ingredients are,” She told the B&FT on the sidelines of the event.

“We have been explaining to the SMEs that listen: when people pick your product they want to know it has X, Y and Z. If it doesn’t then you can’t make it; but if it does, then there is a big opportunity for yourself and your company,” she said.