By Isatou Jawara
The Food Safety and Quality Control Authority in collaboration with AU IBAR recently organized training workshop to build the capacities of the members of the National Codex Committee.
The forum was meant to help codex committee members understand the three international organization setting procedures; the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).
The Permanent Secretary Office of Vice President, Madam Nancy Nyang while delivering the opening remarks, said: “The Government of The Gambia is aware of the importance of these standard setting bodies to national food control systems and is a concerned with the safety and quality of food produced, imported and consumed in the country. With the concern, the government has established the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA).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.
“During this forum a whole day will be dedicated to the development of a five year strategic plan and a comprehensive SPS agenda, work programme and budget for the coming years. This strategic plan is expected to, in addition to food safety and quality more comprehensively address animal and plant health. This will be in line with embracing the concept of biosecurity approach that ensures linkages between food safety, animal and plant health.”
Also speaking at the occasion the rep from AU IBAR Dr Mphumuzi Sukati, said: “Standards are crucial for the development of any nation and undoubtedly form the basis for trade or public health protection. Countries with strong culture of compliance to standards have experienced enhanced consumer protection, better market access of their products, and have experienced increased economic development.
“The African continent is endowed with vast agricultural resources; the full potential of using agriculture to drive economic development in the continent is yet to be realized.”
Lamin Jobe from GIEPA acting director of business development and member of the Codex Committee, explained: “African countries including The Gambia have been experiencing challenges hindering effective participating in international SPS and Codex meeting due to inadequate knowledge. This forum will better prepare committee members in developing weakness and better prepare to effectively participate at international codex meetings and also to set our objectives and the way forward.”