ECOWAS to enshrine food standards’ safety
As part of measures to ensure food standards safety and security, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), yesterday disclosed that goods produced in any member country, would henceforth be labeled as made in Africa.
This position, which was adopted at a stakeholders’ meting of the sub-region’s products regulatory officers in Abuja, is aimed at adding value to its agricultural produce.
The meeting, which was called at the instance of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), was to synergise with the regulatory officers, with a view to adhering to standard process of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).
Representative of the acting Director General of SON, Mrs Margaret Eshiette, said the meeting was aimed at taking a unifying position that would serve as guide to member countries.
She said the objectives would be to formulate regional agenda, to be discussed at the 39th session of the CAC scheduled to hold in Italy next month.
Eshiette added that a provisional executive committee would be birthed to follow up on previous workshop recommendations, monitor activities and establish actors network of ECOWAS countries.
Participants resolved that it has become imperative for the region to ensure uniformity in standards, saying agriculture produce from any member state would now be referred to as produce from ECOWAS, and not tied to the country of origin.
ECOWAS commissioner for Agriculture, Tchambakou Ayassor, who was represented by the Principal Programme Officer, Ernest Aubee, explained that sanitary and phytosanitary food safety (SPS), are critical issues for transforming the region’s agriculture.
He noted that the establishment of the codex commission is also relevant for the attainment of food security, promotion of sustainable human health and the development of national, regional and international trade.
He said: “The lack of food safety regulations and policy in some ECOWAS member states has been a barrier to making agricultural products from the region less competitive in the international market.”