The authorities in Ghana have banned the export of some vegetables, including chilli peppers and aubergines, over fears they are contaminated with pests. Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture has stated that the ban will take effect next week and will last indefinitely.
The ban comes in the wake of an European Union (EU) directive to all countries to provide a report on the management of harmful bacteria. The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana has asked the government to postpone the ban, arguing it will affect the businesses of about 4,000 farmers.
But the authorities want to avoid restrictions being imposed by the EU, which only lifted its last ban on contaminated vegetables from Ghana last year. The nation already risks a complete EU ban over its leafy vegetable exports.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has defended the decision to place a temporary ban on the export of leafy vegetables. The Ministry said the decision has become necessary as a result of unhealthy and unwholesome practices by exporters. Sources say that numerous engagements with exporters to alter their ways of doing things have proved futile.
Meanwhile, the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana has criticized the blanket ban. The Association said identifying defaulting exporters and penalizing them is a better option.
The last time the EU imposed a ban on Ghana on the importation of five vegetables, the country lost more than 30 million dollars.