29 January 2013

Africa Preoccupied with Standards, Safety of Food Production

Experts are meeting in Yaounde to reflect on joint actions to develop standards in food sector.

Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, on January 29, 2013 in Yaounde on behalf of the Head of State, Paul Biya, opened the 20th session of the FAO/WHO Committee for the African Coordination of Codex Alimentarius, CCAFRICA. It is one of the subsidiary organs of the Codex Alimentarius Commission or Food Code which is a combination of international standards on food items drawn up within the United Nations System.

Cameroon was designated as Coordinator of CCAFRICA in June 2011. The holding of the CCAFRICA 20th session in Cameroon also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the organisation to take place in Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy in June 2013. As part of the anniversary activities, a forum will take place alongside deliberations of the Yaounde session on the theme, "Standards on foodstuffs and safety of products: Stakes and challenges for Africa."

Opening the session, Mr Yang enumerated the measures the Cameroon government has put in place since February 2008 to ensure standards, quality, safety and security in the food sector. He said Cameroon's agricultural strategy and food security programme have to be well fitted in the continental policy within the framework of concerted standardisation and adapted to regional specificities so as to favour productivity and inter-community exchanges. Concerted action within Codex Alimentarius, he stressed was urgent considering the galloping demographic growth in Africa with the acute problems of lack of quantity and quality food to meet the ever-increasing demand. The Prime Minister therefore, urged the experts to scrupulously evaluate the implementation of their 2008-2013 strategy plan, draw-up a new one for 2014-2019 period and more importantly reflect on drafting African standards.

One of the major highlights of the ceremony was the signing of the Technical Support Cooperation Programme to build the capacities of national committees and focal points of Codex Alimentarius" for Central Africa. It was signed between the Food and Agriculture Organisation, represented by the Representative for the Africa Region, Maria Helena Semedo on the one hand and on the other hand, Cameroon, represented by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Fuh Calistus Gentry, the Central African Republic signed by its Chargé d'Affaire in the Embassy in Yaounde, Clément Bolegue and Gabon represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, Julien Nkoghe Bekale.

Other speakers during the occasion included the Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative for the Africa Region, Maria Helena Semedo and the Coordinator of CODEX Alimentarius for Africa, who doubles as the Director General of Cameroon's National Agency for Standards and Quality, ANOR, Charles Boto'o à Ngon.

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