AllAfrica.com. The EU will spend €13 million ($17.10 million) this year to train Africans in international food safety standards.
This is in preparation for competitive trade between the continent and the EU. The training Better Training for Safer Food Africa is part of the complementary measures taken to strengthen African supply capacity so that it can benefit from market access. “We want to prepare Africa for the future because it has the potential to trade,” said Moustapha Magumu, an advisor with the EU delegation to AU.
The EU is the largest importer of food in the world yet very minimal quantities from Africa access these markets due to hygiene requirements.
Also, EU companies certify the few products that access their markets because of limited skills and laboratories in Africa.
The funds will be channelled to the ongoing exercise aimed at building the capacities of inspectors from national bureau of standards and customs officials across 12 countries within East African Community and South African Development Community .
This year, the training started in Central Africa, then moved to North Africa and is now in East Africa and the SADC region.
The beneficiaries learn inspection techniques, standards checks, quality assurance, accreditation, metrology and how to check residue levels.
It is also expected that some of the money will help to strengthen laboratory capacities in some countries through a twining programme — a laboratory technician from any EU country is accredited to work in an African laboratory. Sudan has already been identified for the twinning programme.
The training code named Better Training for Safer Food was launched in 2005, to provide coach both EU and third world countries’ officials responsible for checking that EU rules related to food, animal health and welfare as well as plant health are properly applied.
The inspectors will do product traceability using documents and physical checks as a basis of work. Last year, the EU spent E10 million ($13.14 million) in five training in West Africa, North Africa and South Africa.
This article, originally published on The East African, was written by Halima Abdallah.
Better Training for Safer Food is an EC training initiative covering food and feed law, animal health and welfare and plant health rules. It falls under the activities of the Trade, Regional Integration and Infrastructure Partnership of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, and in particular its second priority action which seeks to strengthen African capacities in the area of rules, standards and quality control and to improve technical knowledge to ensure that food and feed inspection services are operating efficiently and transparently.