31 August 2014

South Africa: SA, New Zealand to Share Food Safety Systems

The governments of South Africa and New Zealand will join forces, this week, to share their expertise on food safety systems for export with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) counterparts.

The two-day workshop, which starts on Tuesday in Pretoria, will be co-chaired by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, and New Zealand High Commissioner to South Africa, Richard Mann, with participation of experts from Kenya and Uganda, among others.

According to Minister Zokwana's spokesperson Palesa Mokomele, the workshop aims to share experience and expertise with southern African countries in agriculture and fisheries.

"The workshop content will focus on offering practical solutions for key industry players and government officials dealing with food safety issues. This will also be an opportunity to showcase New Zealand and South African producers' robust and world-leading 'farm to fork' and 'grass to glass' food safety standards and legislation," Mokomele explained.

Most African countries are focused on increasing the quantity and quality of their agricultural exports and seek to better address market access and compliance issues they often have with new and existing export markets.

Key regional multilateral organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), SADC, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank and the Global Food Safety Initiative will also participate.

This trilateral initiative came as a result of last year's meeting between Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and her New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully, where they agreed to cooperate in the field of agriculture, focusing on issues affecting the SADC region.

Both South Africa and New Zealand expressed the hope that the workshop will assist the region to increase agricultural exports as part of overall efforts to enhance Africa's economic growth and social development.

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