Food Safety and Quality Authority, in collaboration with AU-IBAR has held a
training workshop, which is meant to build the capacities of the members of the
National Codex Committee to better equip them to understand the three
international organisations setting procedures, which are the International
Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World
Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).
The permanent secretary at the Office of the Vice-President, Madam Nancy Nyang, said that the Government of The Gambia was aware of the importance of the standard setting bodies to national food control systems.
Stating that the safety and quality of food produced, imported and consumed in the country are their concerns, she said, that’s the rationale behind the establishment of the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), by the government of The Gambia.
“This authority is responsible for the overall official and control of the safety and quality of food, including water beverages and animal feed, along the food chain from production up to its supply to the final consumer.”
She disclosed that the forum would be dedicated to the development of a five-year strategic plan and a comprehensive SPS agenda work programme and budget for the coming years.
Also speaking at the occasion, a representative from AU-IBAR, Mphumuzi Sukati, said that standards are crucial for the development of any nation. “Countries with strong culture of compliance to standards have experienced enhanced consumer protection, better market access for their products, and have experienced increased economic development.”
Mr Sukati remarked that the African continent is endowed with vast agricultural resources and the full potential of using agriculture to drive economic development on the continent was yet to be realised.
Mr Lamin Jobe from GIEPA and member of the Codex Committee explained that African countries, including The Gambia have been experiencing challenges that hinder effective participation in international SPS and codex meeting, due to inadequate knowledge.
Mr Jobe said that the forum would better equip committee members to better prepare for effective participation at international codex meetings and to also set their objectives including the way forward.