Assessment of the Effects of Regulatory Environment on the Quality Management of Vegetables Produced in the Ga South Municipality of Ghana

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The specific roles of regulatory bodies in monitoring the safety standards of fresh food produce and their effectiveness in discharging these roles is important to assure consumers of their safety. In Ghana however these specifics, with regard to the produce of ready to eat fresh vegetables have neither been fully understood nor investigated. The seeming absence of regulatory mechanisms and its corresponding policies from the appropriate regulatory bodies have contributed to the challenges faced by vegetable producers and consumers in Ghana. Investigations were therefore conducted to assess the level of influence of regulatory institutions on vegetable production in the Ga-South Municipality of Ghana. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire. A total number of 300 respondents comprising of 200 farmers, 50 exporters and 50 regulators were purposely selected. Descriptive analysis and ordinal regression were employed to analyze the data and explain the patterns of interactions among the identified regulatory factors influencing vegetable production. The results revealed that adoption of stringent safety standards, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), ability of regulators to strictly enforce the law, availability and adequacy of policies ensuring food safety and quality, the prevalent regulatory environment effects on vegetable safety/quality and enforcement of trade contracts to the letter are institutional environment factors that significantly influence the quality of vegetables (P≤0.05). The findings suggest that institutional changes with respect to the aforementioned variables and other complementary factors such as contract farming and credit access can significantly contribute to increased, efficient and safe vegetable production. The regression results showed that- gender, educational level and farmers working experience did not significantly influence people’s perception on how regulatory bodies influence the quality of vegetables. The findings suggest that institutional changes must be made with respect to the variables mentioned early on and other complementary policies enforced to ensure safe and sustainable vegetable production.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.