Public health authorities have been urged to strictly enforce the food sanitation code to ensure sanitation and hygiene among food vendors.
“Food vending is a useful segment of our economy that needs to be given the required attention it deserves and if concerns over food safety are not addressed in a more coherent, consistent and collaborative manner, the livelihoods of vendors and the health of consumers may be at risk”.
Dr Joseph Mensah-Ansah, Chairperson of the High Impact Tourism Training (HITT), said this when a total of 296 food vendors passed out after a three-month training in hygiene and food safety in Accra.
The training was implemented by the Opportunities Industrialization Centre Ghana (OICG), in partnership with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Ghana, and HITT, with support from the European Commission.
Participants were selected from Bawaleshie, Okponglo, Shaishie and Spintex. They were trained in Understanding tourism, Professional Hospital, Business Management Skills, Access to Financial Services, Image Branding and Certification.
The training started in 2011, in six selected Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ghana, with the aim of contributing to sustainable, scalable, pro-poor economic growth, through the development and implementation of an integrated market driven tourism, targeting the informal sector. So far 1,200 had been trained and the programme will end in February 2014.
Dr Mensah-Ansah noted that research has showed that 94 per cent of vendors were females with minimal formal education, whilst in Accra alone; over 60,000 people were employed in vending with little knowledge on food borne diseases.
“We cannot develop our tourism and hospitality industry if we do not give due attention to training and development of our human capacity in the industry”, he added.
He called on stakeholders to coordinate their efforts to encourage more training programmes, adding, “While formal training is obviously important, it may often be more beneficial and more cost effective in practice to focus on informal training of such programmes”.
In a speech read for him, Mr Nii Armah Ashitey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relation, noted that, Ghana in 2010, earned 1.8 billion dollars from 950,000 tourists, who visited the country within the period.
He urged food vendors to ensure good sanitation and ensure the satisfaction of their clients and also modernize the traditional apprenticeship system to make it more attractive.
Mr Samuel Debrah, Chief Executive of OICG, said the goal of the training was to enable street vendors to operate culturally and in a professional manner, reflecting the high standards of hygiene, safety, customer service and operational best practices in order to enhance their income.
He called on interested organizations to partner with the OICG in such intervention, to help improve services in the Ghanaian hospitality sector and reduce poverty.
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