This initiative is part of a larger U.S$5 million regional project funded by the European Union, targeting 11 African Union countries.
The recently concluded mission in Zimbabwe, spanning three weeks, delved into the heart of the nation’s food control system.
This comprehensive effort involved field visits to abattoirs and agricultural manufacturing plants, strategic meetings with Competent Authorities, and in-depth interviews with various stakeholders involved in the intricate web of the country’s food control mechanism.
The objective was to review and authenticate the gathered data, ensuring the effectiveness of the existing system.
The groundwork for this mission was laid during a rigorous four-month data collection period. Focal points from Zimbabwe’s food control system, trained in the FAO/WHO food control system assessment tool, spearheaded the data collection with the assistance of FAO.
The tool, a unique creation by the United Nations agencies, is designed to comprehensively assess national food control systems.
As the validation phase concludes, the project moves into its next stage: the development of an analytical report.
This report will be structured around various dimensions of the assessment tool, utilizing the evidence and data collected during the extensive project.
The final report is anticipated to undergo scrutiny from the Competent Authorities involved in the data collection process and is scheduled for endorsement at a pivotal workshop early next year.
The overarching goal is to develop a strategic analysis and a plan aimed at strengthening Zimbabwe’s food control system.
Regional project for collective progress
Zimbabwe’s assessment is a critical component of the broader U.S$5 million regional project, initiated in November 2022.
Spearheaded by FAO experts and funded by the European Union, the project aligns with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Policy Framework for Africa.
This framework, developed by the African Union, aims to facilitate trade among AU Member States. The project operates in close collaboration with the African Union Commission Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (AUC DARBE).
The impact of this project extends beyond Zimbabwe’s borders, with final assessments already concluded in five African Union Member countries.
As the initiative progresses, it promises not only to bolster Zimbabwe’s food control system but also to contribute significantly to the larger objective of enhancing food safety and plant health governance across the African continent.