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Stakeholders convey food safety awareness creation

Jan 17, 2014, 10:40 AM

The Sector Competitiveness and Export Diversification project funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (ELF) trust fund and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC), in collaboration with the ministries of trade and agriculture, and other stakeholders within the groundnut and sesame sectors, on Wednesday convened a full day workshop on building awareness on pre-requisite programmes and food safety system based on hazard analysis critical points in international trade.

The forum, which targeted senior managers of groundnut, cashew nuts, sesame and other relevant stakeholders, was held at the Baobab Lodge.

The workshop is being funded under the sector competitiveness and export diversification project with the overall objective to bring awareness to the agri-food industry on the need for and implication of hygiene practices and food safety system in The Gambia and the international trade.

In giving a background of the sector competitiveness and export diversification project in The Gambia, Ludovica Ghizzoni, advisor on export quality management enterprise competitiveness, said the project is aimed at addressing trade related development priorities identified in the diagnostic trade integrationstudy by providing agro-sector specific support for cashew nuts, groundnut and sesame, provision of sectorof cross-cutting assistance in areas of trade information and inclusive tourism.

According to her, the aim of the workshop was to build awareness on hygiene and food safety, role of food safety in world trade and why Gambia producers of GN, CN, SS have to comply with international requirements, and make standards on food safety most relevant.

In his official opening remarks, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, Momodou Lamin Ceesay, described the workshop as the first of a series of weeklong activities to sensitize local stakeholders to food safety issues in the groundnut, cashew and sesame sectors.

He noted that the food safety quality Act 2011 is being enforced to help ensure the health and economic well-being of consumers.

The Act, he said, states that business operators shall be responsible for ensuring that the products they sell or possess for the intention of sale, shall be safe to eat and “this will apply at all stages of production and distribution of foods, including primary production and suppliers of inputs”.

He said it shall also apply to those business operators who supply ingredients which may be incorporated into food, or materials which may come onto contact with food, and thereby provide a source of potential contamination.