TANZANIA – African countries have been advised to hold common position of issues of interest regarding food security, quality and safety when they are presented at the global level.

The advise was given mid this week  in Dar es Salaam by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of  Industry and Trade, Uledi Mussa, when officiating a three- day Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAFRICA) colloquium on Codex  funded by the African union and the United States of America.

At the meeting which was hosted by Tanzania, through the Tanzania bureau of Standards, Mussa said participants must use the opportunity to at least level the standards used by developed countries with those used by African countries in areas of goods exported and imported.

“In most cases we fail to use these opportunities even in preferential markets because we cannot meet international standards,” he said.

The PS noted further that there was need for all standards to reflex the need of the people considering that health is very important.

‘But there are time when the standards of our colleagues (developing countries) are too stringent that prohibit African goods to access their markets,” he said.

Now, he said there was need for the participants to address such challenges in order to meet the standards desired by consumers.

He said sometimes it is difficult for developing countries to have traceability of their goods which is being followed by markets in the European Union and the USA.

“How is it possible to trace cattle raised by a Maasai in Arusha and expect it to have quality that meets   EU standards? This is impossible. That is why this meeting calls for all African experts to chart out ways of reducing stringency of some international standards to enable some of our goods to also penetrate in the international markets,” he said.

 Already the government has set disease free region as a starting pointing where cattle will be raised and later slaughtered to get meat that can be sold in the international market, he said.

For her part, the acting Director General for the Tanzania Bureau of Standards Tumaini Mtitu said the Africans have great hope that the meeting will open doors for more discussion on issues standards because now they were discussing in one voice challenges that all countries have been facing.

She said the government of the USA has funded the project after hearing the cry of African countries regarding failure of their goods to access international markets.

“Now they what us to come up with what we need in various areas including food safety, import and export of goods, inspection, hygiene and areas of nutrition,” she said.

For her part, the Mary Francis Lowe  U.S Codex Manager said  sponsoring issues like food safety standards is very important for both the US and Africa.

“We need to Identify areas of interest and what challenges are we meeting so that we find our solution together,” she said.

She stressed: “We want to protect and support our consumers hence food safety standards is vital. We export and import a lot; we want African countries to also reach our level of exporting and importing.”

September 25, 2014; http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=72320