Globalization of production, and of supply and retailer chains, has ensured the safety and quality of products as very vital. Recent health concerns arising from bovine diseases, bird flu and various toxins entering the food chain have led to stringent standards and conformity procedures, particularly in the area of agro-food exports.
As agriculture based exporter facing high quality benchmarks to penetrate its markets with diversified products, Ghana must acquire the capability to conform to requirements in terms of quality, safety, health and environment if it is to participate fully in global market.
A laboratory is a workplace for conduct of scientific research or a room / building with scientific equipment for doing scientific tests
Laboratory is one of the key pillars when building blocks of compliance capacity.
In fact, Ghana as developing country must be able to prove the reliability of its test data, maintain high-quality certification and inspection procedures and establish conformity to international standards and/or those applied in importing countries. Local metrological (measurement and calibration) and testing capabilities reduced testing costs which would be incurred if products could only be tested abroad or through locally based international service.
The Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE) funded under the European Development Fund is providing support for the implementation of the national quality policy and the creation of a performing quality infrastructure.
Demonstrating a capacity to conform to standards requires the establishment of efficient testing, certification and accreditation mechanisms to meet the requirements of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreements
The TRAQUE programme is providing support equipment to twenty-eight (28) laboratories on main quality institutions like the National Metrology Institute, the Accra Veterinary Laboratory, and the Food Research Institute amongst others.
Compliance infrastructure broadly includes: national standards institute; microbiology and chemical testing laboratories; national metrology institute; and national accreditation certification capacity to certify enterprises for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 22000 and to train internal auditors.
Compliance services are costly but should be considered a public good.