ECOWAS on Food Safety capacity building

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ECOWAS, in collaboration with Food Safety, recently commenced a 5-day capacity building to increase participation and successful application for Codex Trust Fund (CTF) at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The aim and objective of the workshop was to capitalize participants on the success stories of the 1st year implementation and of CFT2 activities in Ghana and Senegal.

It was also aimed at sharing information, lessons learnt among member states in a bankable CTFT2  and to review activities of the national codex committees as well as the food safety actor Network and to identify challenges faced by the food safety actors network.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the commissioner for industry and Private Sector Promotion at the ECOWAS Commission, Hon. Kalilu Trawally, said in strengthening national food safety and quality system, national codex contact point was appointed.

He said SPS committees were created in ECOWAS member states through the support of previous project including the PANAfrica standard setting project led by African Union-interbureau on animal Resource AU-IBAR with the support of European Union.

According to Mr Trawally, further codex Trust fund was created in 2003 to enhance codex member states physical participation in codex meetings and build in-country capacity.

Mr Trawally said the Phase 1 of the CTF contributed immensely to widening and strengthening participation of developing and transition coon countries in the work of codex and help improve awareness of codex in most beneficiary countries.

He pointed out that based on the successes of CTF1; the CTF Secretariat lunched CTF2 Globally, adding that the secretariat received 41 applications through the online system by deadline of 3 May 2016.

He revealed that 38 out of 41 were accepted after the meeting pre-screening criteria.

He said 24 applications from Africa region were sent to FAO and WHO Regional food safety advisor for comments, thereafter, they were submitted to the Technical Review Group for assessment.

According to him, it was noticed that many ECOWAS member states were not able to apply for the first round of application due to many reasons including the application process, difficulties in conducting national consultations and scientific assessment and be able to fill the application form.

Most importantly, he said, low rate of success was mostly due to the lack of real and functional national codex structure in Africa in general and ECOWAS member countries in particular.

He said after the first round of application, it was observed that only 2 (13.33%) countries from the ECOWAS region, namely Senegal and Ghana, were successful, hence they benefited from the fund.

He disclosed that in 2015, there was a food safety Actions Network in ECOWAS country to develop synergy of action to better protect the interest of member countries was created.

For his part, Adama Ngum said The Gambia is a member of the FAO and WHO sister standards setting bodies including Codex Almentaruss Commission (CAC) World Organization for animal health and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and has been participating in these meeting.

He said the food security and food safety matters are priority areas as for the Government of The Gambia, in that regard, the Food Safety and Quality Authority was established.

As such most of the food security policies and initiative in the country are geared towards solving the problem of global challenges and priorities including food safety, and quality nutrition. 

He said similar arrangements of having different laws and regulations governing food safety quality and food security falling under different institutions and ministries exist in many African countries and globally.  

Author: Yai Dibba