EAC to adopt self-regulatory framework for food safety

THE Private Sector in East Africa is developing self-regulatory framework to enhance conformity to food safety and quality standards demanded by national, regional, continental and global markets.

The East African Business Council (EABC) partnered with GIZ Market Access Programme (MARKUP) under the EU-EAC Funded Project to organise a high-level stakeholder workshop to consider and approve the framework on self-regulation.

The MARKUP Consultant on Food Safety and Quality Standards, Prof Martin Kimanya said on Wednesday during the workshop that the framework aims to influence value chain stakeholders to observe safety and standards that make their goods competitive in international and regional markets and safe for consumers.

He noted that self-regulation should go hand in hand with the EAC’s move to harmonise standards. He also highlighted some challenges to self-regulation, including inadequate funds to build networks.

The workshop drew food standard experts, representatives of business associations from various agribusiness sub-sectors and the public sector.

The framework is expected to be ratified and domesticated at the national level.

The implementation of a self-regulatory framework is at the final level of approval by the private sector and is set to boost cross-border trade along the priority EAC value chain.

It will also ease the compliance cost and administrative requirements by regulatory agencies, according to Mr Frank Dafa, the EABC Expert Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Standards representing the CEO of EABC.

On her part, the GIZ MARKUP Programme Coordinator, Ms Estella Aryada pointed out that respective partner states should support the private sector in implementing the framework.

The benefits of reduced certification costs and delays can create an environment of trust among consumers in both local and international markets.

The Principal MSME, Quality Assurance & Standardization from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Uganda, Ms Ketra Nakayenga said Uganda has made great strides in complying with international standards.

She urged the private sector to encourage more scientific approaches to meet food safety and quality standards.

The high-level meeting will conclude on Wednesday with the signing of the communique of the key deliberations from the Private Sector Self-Regulation Framework and agreement on the Roadmap for its implementation.

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