EAST AFRICA – Under the auspices of the EU-EAC funded project, the East African Business Council (EABC) and GIZ Market Access Programme (MARKUP) have teamed together to host a high-level stakeholder workshop to discuss and endorse a framework for self-regulation for food safety and quality standards for coffee, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
The framework is anticipated to be ratified and domesticated at the national level.
Experts on food standards, government officials, and members of industry associations from different agribusiness subsectors attended the program.
The private sector has given its final consent for the implementation of the self-regulatory framework, which is expected to increase cross-border trade throughout the key EAC value chain.
According to Prof. Martin Kimanya, the MARKUP Consultant on Food Safety and Quality Standards, it aims to persuade value chain stakeholders to adhere to safety standards that make their goods competitive in international and regional markets and safe for consumers.
He pointed out that the EAC’s efforts to harmonize standards should be accompanied by self-regulation. He also emphasized several obstacles to self-regulation, such as a lack of resources for creating networks.
Mr. Frank Dafa, the EABC Expert Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Standards who represents the CEO of EABC, claims that it will help reduce compliance costs and administrative needs by regulatory bodies.
EABC is the apex advocacy body of private sector associations and corporates from the 7 East African Community (EAC) Partner States (Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan).
For her part, Ms. Estella Aryada, the GIZ MARKUP Programme Coordinator, emphasized that the respective partner governments should aid the corporate sector in putting the framework into practice.
Reduced certification costs and delays help foster a culture of trust among customers in domestic and international marketplaces.
Uganda has made remarkable strides in adhering to international standards, according to Ms. Ketra Nakayenga, Principal MSME, Quality Assurance & Standardization from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives of Uganda.
She urged the private sector to encourage more scientific approaches to meet food safety and quality standards.
The high-level meeting ended with the signing of the communiqué outlining the major conclusions of the Private Sector Self-Regulation Framework and agreement on the Roadmap for its implementation.