COMOROS – In a resounding leap forward for food safety initiatives in Africa, the Union of Comoros has emerged as a trailblazer by concluding a groundbreaking food safety assessment under the ambitious “Strengthening of Capacities and Governance in Food and Phytosanitary Control” project.

The brainchild of the European Union, this 5-million-euro endeavor has illuminated Comoros as the first nation to successfully complete the food safety component, fortifying the country’s commitment to safeguarding public health and fostering economic development.

Launched in November 2022, the “Strengthening of Capacities and Governance in Food and Phytosanitary Control” project is a transformative venture championed by the European Union.

With its cross-border impact resonating across 11 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Member Countries, the project prioritizes bolstering capabilities, enhancing governance, and elevating strategic planning across two central facets: food safety and plant health.

Comoros has etched its name as a pioneer, taking the inaugural steps within the project’s food safety dimension.

The nation’s enthusiastic involvement commenced in November 2022, marking the inception of a collaborative journey between local Competent Authorities, stakeholders, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This alliance aimed to harness data, insights, and innovation in forging a strategic framework that promises to invigorate both public health and economic prosperity.

The underpinning of this revolutionary effort rests on the use of the FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment Tool. This distinctive instrument, whose usage is experiencing steady expansion, delves deep into the national food control system.

By scrutinizing the entire food chain, from production and distribution to the retail market and consumer realms, the assessment strives to align Comoros with international benchmarks, fostering regional harmonization and trade.

Stalwart commitment, vision

H.E. Houmed Msaidié, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment, and Tourism, encapsulates Comoros’ dedication to the project.

“The Union of Comoros considers the food control system a key component of the agrifood system which is the engine of Africa’s transformation,” he said.

This steadfast commitment resonates through the rigorous efforts of Comoros’ Competent Authorities, collaborating with FAO experts to gather and analyze data over several months.

Comoros’ journey encompassed meticulous steps under the guidance of FAO experts. With data collection and strategic analysis at its core, the project unveiled vital insights.

The collaboration culminated in a comprehensive report on the nation’s food safety control system status, paired with actionable recommendations for improvement.

The pinnacle of this endeavor was a momentous final workshop. Held from August 1 to 3 at Moroni’s Retaj Hotel, stakeholders converged to review the assessment’s findings and recommendations, collectively crafting a strategic framework for implementation.

August 4 marked a historic day when high-ranking officials from across Comoros’ food safety control system convened to endorse the recommendations and the shared vision, pledging to champion the framework’s implementation, synergies, and donor engagement.

Comoros’ remarkable feat sets a precedent for others to follow. As the assessment baton passes to Kenya, slated for conclusion in late August, this burgeoning momentum promises a ripple effect across nations.

Kenya, Seychelles, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Rwanda, Mauritius, and Uganda have also embraced the FAO/WHO Food Control System Assessment Tool, epitomizing the drive towards international standards, harmonization, and enhanced regional trade.

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