Aug 18, 2009, 6:28 AM
The National Implementation Unit (NIU) of the Enhanced Integrated Framework Project, under the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, Monday engaged stakeholders on a two-day seminar on export quality management for trade support institutions and enterprises for the three sectors, groundnut, cashew nut and sesame.
The seminar, which brought participants from various areas, was held at the Nana Conference hall and was part of the sector competiveness and export diversification project geared towards enhancing participants with the requisite knowledge on the three commodities.
The project which provides specific support for the three sectors, cashew nut, groundnut and sesame, under component A, also focuses on finding new export opportunities, product diversification, improved valued-addition, quality enhancement and strengthening of sector support institutions.
Bai Ibrahim Jobe, Enhanced Integrated Framework Program coordinator at the Ministry of Trade, said the quality was a prerequisite for successful market access and for improving the competiveness of exporters.
However, he added, meeting technical requirements was a challenge for many exporters and most especially for SMEs in developing countries like The Gambia.
Therefore, he said, the government of The Gambia was making a lot of efforts to address these challenges and build capacity in the country.
The government of The Gambia has set up the Gambia Standards Bureau with the mandate to develop voluntary standards and provide metrology services in the country, he said.
He said the government of The Gambia also established the Food Safety and Quality Authority to improve the quality of food produced and sold in the country.
He further stated that the country was at an advanced stage in finalising a national quality policy to give direction and focus in an effort to improving quality of goods produced and sold in the country.
Mr Jobe further stated that in addition, the sector competiveness and export diversification project has developed a quality Assurance Framework for Sesame and Cashew and also developed manual for the production of high quality groundnut, sesame and cashew through the farmer fields school approach.
He said efforts are also underway to build capacity in the implementation of HACCP in about 8 selected enterprises.
Therefore, he went on, the training in export quality management would no doubt complement and also help to build capacity in the country to boost exports.
He used the opportunity to thank the International Trade Centre for organizing the workshop and Khemraj Ramful, senior adviser on quality at the ITC.