Apr 23, 2008, 7:22 AM
A two-day stakeholders' consultation workshop on food safety, animal and plant health policy recently ended at the National Nutrition Agency.
Speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment Baboucarr Jallow said it is critical that The Gambia develops and implements a robust policy framework to address the areas of food safety, animal and plant health, and the associated risks to the environment. Such a policy framework, he added is essential for our national food control system.
He stated that The Gambia is also working to expand its exports to other food and agricultural communities, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cashew and sesame, noting that The Gambia also imports a number of food and agricultural commodities, which must be carefully checked to ensure that they are not causing food borne illnesses.
PS Jallow added that The Gambia is a member of the World Trade Organisation and in order to meet these obligations, particularly relating to the WTO Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary Agreement, The Gambia must utilise international recommended best practices and harmonise its control systems with those of its trading partners.
For her part, the Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Vice-President, Mrs. Fatou Jassey Kuyateh pointed out that government has accorded high priority to the health and well-being of all Gambians, as well as food, nutritious and adequate security.
She said working together towards a unified food control agency cannot come at a better time than now as the global approach is to unify national food control systems.
"In this vein, the draft integrated food safety, animal health, plant health and environmental policy will provide focus and direction for the strengthening of the entire food control system, including plant health in the country in line with regional and international strategies," she noted.
Other speakers included Mrs. Mariatou Njie Faal of FAO and Mr. Alpha Jallow.