Yomi Yoghurt producers eye ISO certification after going through SDF-funded training
Indigenous company, Emigoh Ghana Limited, producers of Ghana’s loved yoghurt brand Yomi yoghurt, are targeting International Standard Organization (ISO certification) after the company went through three successful skills development training with funding from the Skills Development Fund (SDF).
The main objectives of the training, according to Stephen Eku, Chief Executive Officer of Emigoh Ghana Limited, are to help increase in productivity; improved safety standards and practices at the workplace; and eventually, attain an international level certification of FSSC 22000 (FSMS) from the International Standard Organisation (ISO certification).
Explaining the need for such training programmes, Mr Eku said “day-in-day-out there are new developments coming out and you need to upgrade yourself to meet the modern trend. You also need to upgrade your system for international recognition as well as improved quality systems.
“Therefore, it was timely and extremely beneficial that the Skills Development Fund (SDF) came to our aid and supported our training with grants which has equipped us to meet modern standards.”
He added : “We do know that with the right management systems in place and also funds readily available, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana will grow well and that makes the intervention of SDF timely.
“But, apart from the SDF being in place to support SMEs, government must enact deliberate policies that will ensure that SMEs are able to access funds to grow.
“As we speak today, we all need collateral in order to secure loans from banks because the regulator the Bank of Ghana has instructed the banks to demand collateral from them, but not all SMEs can get collateral in order to access the loans. That means they won’t be able to get funds to grow the business if institutions like the SDF do not come to assist them. This is an area that must be looked at by the authorities.”
The training also centered on the various clauses under the ISO/TS 22002-1.
These included Clause 5: “Layout of premises and workspace”
Design, construction, and maintenance of internal layouts to ensure good manufacturing/hygiene practices. The movement pattern of products, materials, and people designed to protect the process from potential contamination. Physical separation of raw materials from processed materials to prevent contamination.
Clause 6: Utilities-Air, Water, Energy
Utilities section shall be designed to minimize the risk of contamination.
Services that relate to utilities shall be monitored for it quality in order not to compromise food safety. Portable water adequate for processing shall be provided. Water provided should conform to WHO guidelines for drinking quality water.
Water used as an ingredient, including steam or ice, in contact with a product or product surfaces shall meet quality and microbiological requirements as specified for product.
Clause 15: Product Recall Procedures
Systems shall be in place to ensure products identified as failing to meet required food safety standards can be easily identified, located and removed from all necessary points of the supply chain
List of key contacts documented and maintained
Where products are withdrawn due to immediate health hazards, safety of other products produced under the same conditions evaluated. The need for public warnings if applicable.
Clause 17: Product Information
Information shall be presented to consumers in such a manner which will help them to understand its importance & make informed choices
Information may be provided through labeling or other means, such as company websites & advertisements, may include storage, preparation and serving instructions as may be applicable to the product
Procedures shall be in place to ensure the application of correct labels to products.
Background of the SDF
In 2006, by Act 718, the Government of Ghana established the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET). The objective of the Council is to ‘coordinate and oversee all aspects of technical and vocational education and training in the country’. One of the Council’s functions is to ‘source funding to support technical and vocational education and training (TVET) activities’.
The establishment of the Skills Development Fund (SDF) is seen as one of a series of new mechanisms to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the TVET system and ensure sustainable sources of funding for TVET. To achieve this objective the SDF is designed to include responsive policy, governance structures, institutional arrangements, institutional capacities, systems and procedures to support life-long learning in TVET.
The SDF is embedded in the Government’s TVET policy which has as its mission to “improve the productivity and competitiveness of the skilled workforce and raise the income-earning capacities of people, especially women and low-income groups, through the provision of quality-oriented, industry-focused, and competency-based training programs and complimentary services”.
Currently, the SDF receives funds from DANIDA through its Support to Private Sector Development Phase III (2016 – 2020), and soon, from the Government of Ghana. The scheme is expected to provide COTVET with the opportunity to monitor, evaluate and develop a model for the expansion of the SDF to cover sectors of the Ghanaian economy in which skills and technological development are required to increase the competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises and provide employment.
The SDF is a challenge fund providing a demand-driven response to three critical challenges encountered by the productive sectors of Ghana: (i) an adequately qualified labour force; (ii) the urgency of providing new entrants to the labour market with gainful, employable skills; and (iii) inadequate access to new technologies and innovations. The SDF caters to the skills needs of the formal and informal sectors of the economy; it is available for continuous skills upgrading and, to a limited extent, pre-employment initiatives.
The Fund will support the following types of training needs and activities: Upgrading the skills of employees for productivity improvement and to enable employees adopt emerging new technologies
Enabling current employees to earn higher technical and vocational skills qualifications and incomes
Upgrading the skills of master crafts-persons and self-employed graduate apprentices
The SDF is currently managed by a consortium of international development consulting firms led by NIRAS of Denmark, and including the World University Service of Canada and Cornerstone Capital of Ghana. SDF operates as a separate entity from COTVET and has its own setup, but works towards the original objectives which underpinned its conception and set up.
The SDF is expected in the medium term to be mainstreamed and become the Government’s principal instrument for providing financial support to skills and technology innovation through collaboration between key stakeholders such as Government, development partners, industry-specific operators.
The SDF provides equal opportunity for public and private training providers to access funding support on a competitive basis; a commitment to greater cost-sharing through private sector and learner contributions to the cost of training and facilitates the establishment of Ghanaian national quality assurance mechanisms to improve the quality of delivery and the confidence of beneficiaries in the training and skills they acquire.
The SDF supports proposals in selected sectors aiming to improve productivity, revenues or earnings through improved skills and to create jobs. Within the priority sectors, the selection of proposals is competitive; based on the relevance, realism, and sustainability of the planned outcomes and partnerships. The SDF finances programs (projects) under four funding windows.
The beneficiaries of the SDF include micro, small, medium and large industries and businesses, trade associations, public and private training institutions, universities and polytechnics. In the short and medium term, the SDF is supposed to benefit employers and employees of priority economic sectors who gain additional skilled employment, higher earnings and improved productivity. In the medium to long term, it is expected to benefit a larger group of economic actors through better access to modern, relevant training services through improved facilities and more adequate institutional structures.
About Emigoh Ghana Limited
The nutrition and Health Company is currently in 6 regions in the country – Greater Accra, Eastern Region, Central Region, Western Region, Ashanti Region and Volta Region. It has recently extended into the Brong Ahafo and the Northern regions of Ghana.
The company celebrate the fact that they have stayed focused on what was promised to deliver to Ghanaians; high-quality food that provides great choice, great taste and great excitement to consumers.
“We have excelled beyond manufacturing to provide nutrition and health seminars to our cherished consumers especially for those in the corporate environment who have more sedentary lifestyles. In this regard, we extend invitation to all corporate entities to join our shared values in creating a healthy environment and workforce through our nutrition and health seminars and programs. We are also fortunate to have Yomi known to be Ghana’s best and known drinking probiotic yogurt and have tried to be a consistent and reliable brand in the supply chain. We have had challenges along the way but stayed resilient to those challenges,” the company says.