Posted on: May 3, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Prior to opening European food trade to Africa, the European Union is spending €13-million in 2010 to train African suppliers in applying food safety standards.

Training in using, auditing and certification of global food safety standards and health and safety management systems like HACCP, is part of complementary measures to strengthen African supply capacity and allow market access benefits to African producers and traders.

EU food safety funding is now used to build capacities of inspectors at national bureau of standards and customs officials across 12 countries in the East African Community (EAC) and South African Development Community (SADC), reports East African.

Beneficiaries learn inspection techniques, standards checks, quality assurance, accreditation, metrology and how to check residue levels. Inspectors now learn how to apply product traceability measures, using documents and physical checks. Training started in central Africa in 2010, moving to north Africa, east Africa and southern Africa.

“We want to prepare Africa to realise its potential to trade,” said Moustapha Magumu, an advisor with the EU delegation to the African Union (AU). The EU is the largest importer of food in the world yet very minimal quantities from Africa access these markets due to hygiene requirements, reports East African.

EU companies certify products to access European markets, due to limited skills and laboratories in Africa.

Some funding will strengthen laboratory capacities in some countries through a twining programme. Laboratory technicians from some EU countries will be accredited to work in African laboratories. A laboratory in Sudan will initiate the twinning programme.

In 2009, the EU spent €10-million in five training events in West Africa, North Africa and South Africa. The training programme, named Better Training for Safer Foods, was launched in 2005, to coach EU and third world authorities and officials to apply EU rules related to food, animal health and welfare, as well as plant health.

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