GAMBIA – The West Africa Competitiveness Programme – The Gambia (WACOMP-GM) has handed over field laboratory equipment to quality infrastructure institutions to increase competitiveness in the country through enhanced quality compliance along the onion value chain.
The project which is funded by the European Union issued the equipment to institutions such as the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), Plant Protection Services (PPS), Agriculture Extension Services (AES), and The Gambia Standard Bureau (TGSB).
WACOMP in The Gambia is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in close concert with United Purpose (UP).
“The donation is in line with WACOMP’s efforts to strengthen the technical capacity and competence of the beneficiary conformity assessment institutions. This will lead to an increased onion value-chain compliance and performance leading to an expansion of market access,” said Joseph Ndenn, the National Technical Coordinator of WACOMP-GM.
The FSQA received equipment to assess the safety and quality of raw materials, intermediary, and finished food products, including signals of possible adulteration.
The field equipment consist of a moisture analyser, heavy metal testing kit, aflatoxin testing kit, thermometers, refractometers, and palm oil tester.
Agric Extension Services received equipment like the fruit ripeness scale, vegetable fruit sizer, and kit for pyruvic acid determination to help value chain actors determine crop maturity according to the market needs/demands.
Plant Protection Services received heavy metal and aflatoxin testing kits, refractometers, and palm oil tester equipment for monitoring contaminants such as heavy metals, aflatoxins, and possible adulteration of certain foods.
The Gambia Standards Bureau received thermometers, pH meters, a refractometer, and a palm oil tester, useful for monitoring the condition/conformity of foods, including possible adulteration.
Ms. Lumana Kamashi, the Development Cooperation / International Aid Officer of the European Union Delegation, said the gesture will complement the development of the country’s quality infrastructure system by improving the performance of the respective beneficiary institutions.
She hoped that the beneficiary institutions will judiciously utilize these valuable items to help enhance their competence in relation to food conformity assessment in the country and better serve the Gambian people.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration, Mr. Assan Gaye, said the donated equipment will enormously support the efforts of TGSB to roll out conformity assessment services for the benefit of the public. He, therefore, enjoined the Bureau to judiciously make use of the items.
“With the support of WACOMP-GM, the Ministry of Trade is taking the lead in the development of a national laboratory policy for The Gambia and the development of a food testing laboratory that will be internationally accredited,” he noted.
Fatou Jammeh – Touray, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, said the equipment will greatly improve the effectiveness with which the beneficiaries execute their mandates in general and in particular, will facilitate their delivery of improved services to the horticulture gardens targeted by WACOMP-GM.
“While urging Plant Protection Services and the Agriculture Extension Services to take good care of the equipment, I wish to thank the European Union through WACOMP-GM for this kind gesture. This support is a clear testament to the EU’s continued corporation and support to the Government of The Gambia,” she said.