SPS Inspection Volunteer Expert at International Executive Service Corps (IESC), Accra – Ghana Job Vacancy

Scope of Work

SPS Inspection Volunteer Expert

Problem Statement:

Ghana has a high potential for commercial fruit and vegetable production and export. However, for the country to access international markets, Ghanaian products must comply with sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

Despite having signed on to the World Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement, the country’s agricultural produce shipments still have significant SPS compliance challenges. Due in large part to the lack of awareness of the social, environmental, and economic costs of poor SPS compliance, many producers do not implement good agricultural practices that would mitigate these SPS issues.

The lack of compliance has led to the presence of harmful organisms such as the fruit fly and false coddling moth in export shipments, resulting in severe economic impacts on producers as exports of products such as mangoes, chilies, and gourds are rejected. In 2014 the European Union (Ghana’s major export market) provided an official notice to the Government of Ghana regarding the presence of harmful organisms in Ghanaian horticultural products.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Ghana eventually placed a temporal ban on the export of the most affected vegetables to avoid official sanction. The affected vegetables include chili, garden eggs, pea aubergine, ravaya, marrow, turia, vegetable jute, and curry leaves.

Therefore, Ghanaian horticultural market must strengthen their regulations in complying with sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Horticultural produce that are imported or exported from Ghana must meet SPS standards in order for the country to meet the requirement of their export market, the European Union (EU).

The Ghanaian National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) has four sub-divisions—one of which is the plant quarantine division and is responsible for the inspection of imported and exported plants and plant products and the issuance of phytosanitary certificates.

To ensure compliance of SPS measures by the country, the responsible inspectors and certifiers need to be empowered and equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to regulate SPS compliance of horticulture produce at the port of entry and exit in Ghana.

The Improving Food Safety Systems Project (IFSSP) is therefore volunteer experts with backgrounds in horticulture, plant pathology and agriculture and food safety to train and build capacity of PPRSD’s inspectors and certifiers at the port of entry and exit to properly regulate horticulture products.

Objectives of the Assignment:

  • Review current standard operating procedures, policies, and their application in practice for PPRSD inspectors who inspect, certify, and clear produce for export from key Ghanaian points of exit, specifically at the following locations: Tema Port, Takoradi Port, Alfao Terminal and Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
  • Advise PPRSD and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on specific improvements and implement practices necessary to ensure compliance with international food safety standards in response to advice from EU Auditors based on report from December 2016 where current export ban was extended.
  • To train inspectors at points of export on SPS compliance and inspection in order to improve current status prior to EU visit in September 2017.
  • In addition to inspectors, train, mentor, and develop a cadre of local experts able to conduct random evaluations and reviews of ongoing PPRSD inspection activities at these critical exits points.

Tasks to be performed:

The task to be performed will be to provide training to Ghana’s PPRSD on their responsibilities in regulating SPS standards in the inspection and certification of Ghana’s horticultural produce at key exit points. In line with this, the following activities are expected to be undertaken by the volunteer: U.S.-based Task:

  • Review the following documents:
    • Farmer-to-Farmer Programmatic PERSUAP
    • EU requirements on mangoes and chilies from importing countries
    • List of export regulatory activities at the port of exit in Ghana
    • Report of IFSSP traceability program
    • EU audit report
  • The volunteer is also expected to work on the following together with IFSSP staff before traveling to Ghana:
    • Finalization of training plan
    • Development of training curriculum
    • Development of training materials

The volunteer is encouraged to bring any media or training materials such as manuals, journals, literature, DVD/video that will serve as good resource materials for training and for the library of the IESC office in Ghana and its stakeholders.

In-country Tasks:
  • Attend an orientation meeting at IESC Accra office.
  • Meet with the project country director and technical advisor to understand the current stage of implementation of IFSSP.
  • Attend an orientation meeting with representatives from regulatory institutions responsible for inspection of horticultural produce at the port of entry and exit.
  • Meet with PPRSD to conduct GAP assessment on their current regulatory activities at the port of exit with reference to the EU audit report with EU regulations of importation of horticulture produce as a reference guide.
  • Assess the compliance of PPRSD regulators to the GAP results through observations at the port and identify problems or gaps in compliance.
  • Develop corrective actions and implementation timelines through September 2017 (when the next EU audit will occur) with PPRSD.
  • Run an internal audit on the reviewed regulatory system designed and developed.
  • Train regulators on implementation of SPS standards at the port of exit. Training could cover:
  • Confirmation of farm certification by PPRSD (to prove that produce is from a farm zone that is free from pest and diseases).
  • Confirmation of analytical results of produce on food safety and maximum residue levels (MRL).
  • Assess and run inspection of horticulture produce to confirm the absence of pathogens and pests and to ascertain whether their SPS conditions conform to that of the importing country (EU).
  • Procedures to follow in issuing a phytosanitary certificate.
  • In addition, potentially training on treatment of intercepted imported produce found to contain diseases, and re-exportation procedures would also be relevant.
  • Support PPRSD to develop and document standard operating procedures (SOP) on inspection of horticulture produce at the port of exit and assist PPRSD to review corresponding checklists to these procedures.
  • Conduct pest risk analysis with PPRSD to serve as technical justification of SPS regulation.
  • Prepare trip report and make presentation to field team in Accra.
  • Organize a debriefing session with IFSSP, PPRSD, and other relevant stakeholders to report feedback and discuss the suggested follow-up plans on the recommendations, as well as capture impact.

End of Assignment Report and Other Deliverables Required:

The volunteer shall submit a volunteer trip report to the field team upon completion of the assignment.

F2F Programmatic Pesticide Evaluation Report and Safer Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) Requirements:

Due to the fact that this assignment may provide indirect assistance for the use or procurement of pesticides, the volunteer will likely be in the field and may have the opportunity to encourage good practices in pesticide use and discourage bad practices. However, the volunteer is not expected to recommend or provide advice on specific pesticide active ingredients or products. For this assignment, the volunteer must do the following for a Type 2 assignment:

  • Review the F2F Environmental Brochure and the F2F Programmatic Pesticide Evaluation Report-Safe Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) and shall comply with requirements described in Section 4 of the SUAP when providing ‘assistance for the procurement or use’ of pesticides. The volunteer is not expected to provide recommendations for specific pesticide active ingredients or products, but rather to provide advice, if necessary, on safe use of pesticides, and to discourage poor practices in pesticide use, transport, mixing, storage, application, and disposal.
  • Review the guidance in attachments B, C, F, and H of the PERSUAP and the information in the pesticide questionnaire that each country F2F Program submitted during preparation of this PERSUAP, and shall be prepared to provide recommendations, based on this guidance, to recipients of F2F technical assistance.
  • At his/her discretion, provide recommendations to the F2F country office for additional F2F support for pesticide safe use training, IPM, or other pesticide-related topics.
  • Submit a brief report describing: (1) Limitations and successes of the PERSUAP; (2) Recommendations for additional technical assistance and training needed to improve pest and pesticide management practices; and (3) New recommendations on IPM practices and feedback on the effectiveness of IPM practices used local.

Expertise of Volunteer Expert Requested:

  • At least 10 years of professional experience in food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, agriculture.
  • University degree or higher in agricultural sciences, food safety, food science, biological science, or other relevant fields; advanced degree preferred.
  • Knowledge in and experience with African agriculture, Sanitary/Phytosanitary Systems (SPS) and pest identification and inspection preferred.
  • Strong leadership and communication skills; a capacity to plan strategically and flexibly.
  • Experience with group training.
  • Sufficiently physically fit, with appropriate medical clearance.
  • Experience working in Ghana and/or the region is preferred.
  • Writing Skills: Reporting requires good computer skills including, but not limited to, working, and generating reports with MS Word. Experience with PowerPoint presentations is desirable.
  • This is a United States government funded program. Therefore, for the purpose of achieving desired results in accordance with the work plan and submitting requisite reports, written and spoken fluency in English is required. Ability to work through translators in the field, however, is essential. This requires deliberation and sensitivity to cultural issues in communication.

Company Details

International Executive Service Corps is an international economic development not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C.


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