African Union Over two hundred Experts in the domain of agriculture and related activities are expected to converge on 18 November 2010, at the European Union headquarters in Brussels to brainstorm on how to enhance the Better Training for Safer Food programme (BTSF), in the presence of Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, amongst other important personalities.
Co-hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission (EU), the three-day meeting is aimed at intensifying and harnessing political commitment to global food safety and food security in Africa. Participants will discuss possible strategies and cooperation for tackling the challenges ahead for BTSF.
During the opening session of the High Level Conference, the Director General of Health and Consumers are expected to present the Staff Working Document that will be followed by presentations from other Commission DGs and services on their views of BTSF. A general assessment of the training will be provided followed by an outline of possible future activities in both the EU and third countries. The first day will have a policy-based orientation, whereas the second day will be focused on technical discussions.
Participants will be addressed by EU Commissioner for Health and Consumers- John Dalli and AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture- Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. Other key guest will include Hon Sabine Laruelle, Belgian Minister for SMEs, the Self-Employed, Agriculture and Scientific Policy and Hon (Prof) Peter Nelson Mwanza, Malawian Minister of Agriculture and Food Security.
The delegates will also listen to presentations by International observers such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). These contributions will be centered on the experiences on these organizations on training in the SPS field.
The over 200 delegates expected at this meeting will be drawn from the EU, African and other third countries, African Regional Economic Communities, EU and African Union (AU) institutions and specialist offices, international standard-setting bodies, academia and other stakeholders.
Worth noting that, the BTSF has been providing training on food and feed law, animal health and welfare rules and plant health rules for national-level control staff both from the EU and worldwide since 2006. The activities carried out under BTSF Africa in 2009-10 are deliverables of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy agreed by EU and African heads of state and government at their Lisbon Summit in December 2007. The Strategy’s first Action Plan for 2008-2010 includes a component aimed at strengthening sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacities in Africa and comprising five deliverables of which BTSF Africa is one.
Since its launch, in 2009, BTSF Africa has created opportunities for networking and exchange of best practices in food safety. It has contributed to harmonisation of food hygiene inspections, improving food hygiene practices in SMEs and strengthening national veterinary services. This has provided knock-on effects in terms of public-private partnerships, trade opportunities, market access and job creation at national, regional and Pan-African Levels.
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