The West Africa Competitiveness Programme – The Gambia (WACOMP-GM) handed over field laboratory equipment to quality infrastructure institutions such as Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), Plant Protection Services (PPS), Agriculture Extension Services (AES) and The Gambia Standard Bureau (TGSB).
The handing over ceremony was held on the 28th October 2022 at WACOMP-GM’s office along the Sukuta-Brusubi Highway.
Funded by the European Union (EU), the WACOMP project’s objective is to increase competitiveness in The Gambia through enhanced quality compliance along the onion value chain, thereby strengthening the country’s competitiveness and enhancing its integration into the regional and international trading systems.
WACOMP in The Gambia is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in close concert with United Purpose (UP).
Food Safety & Quality Authority (FSQA) received equipment to assess the safety and quality of raw materials, intermediary and finished food products, including signals of possible adulteration. The field equipment consists of: – moisture analyser, heavy metal testing kit, aflatoxin testing kit, thermometers, refractometers, palm oil tester.
Agric Extension Services (AES) received equipment to help value chain actors determine crop maturity according to the market needs/demands. The field equipment consists of: – fruit ripeness scale, vegetable fruit sizer, kit for pyruvic acid determination.
Plant Protection Services (PPSs) received equipment for monitoring contaminants such as heavy metals, aflatoxins, and possible adulteration of certain foods. The field equipment consists of: – heavy metal and aflatoxin testing kits, refractometer, palm oil tester.
The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB) received equipment useful for monitoring the condition/conformity of foods, including possible adulteration. The field equipment consists of: – thermometers, pH meters, refractometer, palm oil tester.
Joseph Ndenn, the National Technical Coordinator of WACOMP-GM, said the donation is in line with his project’s efforts to strengthen the technical capacity and competence of the beneficiary conformity assessment institutions. This, he added, will lead to an increased onion value-chain compliance and performances, leading of expansion of market access.
Ms. Lumana Kamashi, the Development Cooperation / International Aid Officer of the European Union Delegation, said the gesture will complement the development of the country’s quality infrastructure system by improving the performance of the respective beneficiary institutions.
She hoped that the beneficiary institutions will judiciously utilize these valuable items to help enhance their competence in relation to food conformity assessment in the country and better serve the Gambian people.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration, Mr. Assan Gaye, said the donated equipment will enormously support the efforts of TGSB to roll out conformity assessment services for the benefit of the public. He therefore enjoined the Bureau to judiciously make use of the items.
“With the support of WACOMP-GM, the Ministry of Trade is taking the lead in the development of a national laboratory policy for The Gambia and the development of a food testing laboratory that will be internationally accredited,” he noted.
Fatou Jammeh – Touray, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, said the equipment will greatly improve the effectiveness with which the beneficiaries execute their mandates in general and in particular, will facilitate their delivery of improved services to the horticulture gardens targeted by WACOMP-GM.
She said: “While urging Plant Protection Services (PPS) and the Agriculture Extension Services to take good care of the equipment, I wish to thank the European Union through WACOMP-GM for this kind gesture. This support is a clear testament to the EU’s continued corporation and support to the Government of The Gambia,”.