COMOROS/SEYCHELLES – Two teams of international consultants have carried out missions to validate the data gathered on the food control systems in the island nations of Comoros and Seychelles, marking a crucial milestone in the project’s progress.
This is part of an ongoing two-year project being conducted in 11 African Union (AU) countries in a significant effort to enhance governance surrounding food safety and plant health.
Funded by the European Union, the project is spearheaded by a team of experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Activities commenced last November in the Union of Comoros and Seychelles, where focal points underwent comprehensive training on the food control system assessment tool and the data collection process.
This involved gathering information from multiple indicators across various ministries and agencies that collectively form the food control system in both countries.
Validation missions confirm progress
Following a meticulous four-month data collection period, supported by the FAO team and a national consultant, a validation mission was conducted.
The mission encompassed field visits, meetings with Competent Authorities for food safety, identification of data gaps, and verification of facts with numerous stakeholders.
In the Union of Comoros, visits and technical meetings were held with academic institutions, consumer associations, and food business operators in the islands of Moroni, Moheli, and Anjouan.
Meanwhile, in the Seychelles, the work took place in the Mahé and Praslin islands, involving field visits to markets, abattoirs, and food business operators.
Developing a comprehensive report
The subsequent phase in the assessment process involves developing a report based on a set of predetermined indicators derived from the collected and verified data.
This report will be thoroughly reviewed by the Competent Authorities involved in the data collection and will receive endorsement during a final workshop scheduled for the end of July in the Union of Comoros and September in Seychelles.
Notably, Comoros and Seychelles were the first two countries to implement the assessment and will be the first to complete it successfully. Following their completion, the assessment will proceed to Eswatini, followed by Mauritius, Kenya, and Rwanda.
Aligned with AU Policy Framework
This project, co-signed by the government, aligns with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Policy Framework for Africa, developed by the African Union (AU) to foster trade among AU Member States.
It is being implemented in close collaboration with the African Union Commission Division for Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC DARBE).
The project aims to strengthen the respective food control systems of participating countries.
Upon completion, a strategic analysis and a costed plan will be developed to further enhance food safety measures.
The project’s implementation demonstrates the commitment of Comoros and Seychelles towards improving food safety and plant health in their regions.
The African Union Commission has recently launched a campaign to raise awareness about food safety and encourage the implementation of robust food control systems across the continent.
The European Union has pledged additional funding to support similar projects aimed at strengthening food safety and plant health in various AU countries.