Voluntary assurance systems to improve food safety, trade in region
What you need to know:
Mr Bukenya made the remarks during the launch of the USD 700,000 (Shs 2.6 bn) two-year Pilot on the use of Voluntary Third Party Assurance (vTPA) programme in East Africa with aquaculture for Uganda and Horticulture for Rwanda that was held in Entebbe on Tuesday
The acting Director for Fisheries Resources at the Ministry for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Mr Tom Mukasa Bukenya has said Voluntary Third Party Assurance (VTPA) systems will improve food safety outcomes for public health and trade in the region.
“The project will significantly contribute to improved food safety measures and market access for Uganda’s fish and fishery products through third-party certification schemes which are increasingly demanded in international food marketing chains,” he said.
Mr Bukenya made the remarks during the launch of the USD 700,000 (Shs 2.6 bn) two-year Pilot on the use of Voluntary Third Party Assurance (vTPA) programme in East Africa with aquaculture for Uganda and Horticulture for Rwanda that was held in Entebbe on Tuesday.
“The project is going to use a voluntary certification system which factories, fish traders, and other stakeholders will use to inspect and ensure that the fish that is put on the market is free from any contamination,” he said.
Mr Bukenya said the project which started in November will contribute to increased awareness of food safety regulators and regulatory authorities on how to assess and use data generated by Voluntary Third Party Assurance in pilot countries.
‘This project is aligned to the aspiration of Agro exportation program on increasing agricultural market product competitiveness through improved quality and standards including the establishment of traceability and e-government systems” he said.
The commissioner of fisheries Ms Joyce Ikwaput said fish processors need to comply to set safety standards to trade and ensure public health.
“If you handle food in an unsafe way, one way or the other it comes back to you, either in your health when food is contaminated or your pockets, once the quality of your products is not acceptable you will not be able to trade and get the money you desire,” she said.
The Deputy Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Mrs. Patricia Bageine Ejalu said the project will also engage the Private sector in the fish value chain to ensure that the fish is safe right from the producers up to the consumer.
“We want to become an export-oriented country by reducing the imports and increasing exports but to do that we have to meet the requirements of the other countries where we are sending our products. Our products are good but we must ensure they are safe to meet the different requirements outside Uganda” she said.
The representative of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) that is supporting the project Ms Marlynne Hopper said in other countries, competent authorities are looking at the VTPA approach to add value and bring benefits to the food trade.