The Minister of Trade, Abdou Jobe, has urged the certified enterprises on Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to contribute to the socio-economy development of the country.
He said the HACCP compliance will boost local and global demand for agro-processed products from enterprises and accelerate national economic growth and development on a sustainable basis.
He was speaking yesterday during the handing over of HACCP certificates held at the Ministry in Banjul.
The HACCP process was driven by the Ministry through agro sector specific support for cashew nuts, groundnuts and sesame under the Enhance Integrated Framework (EIF) sector competitiveness and export diversification project implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC).
The aim of the project is to secure new export opportunities, product diversification, improved value-addition, quality enhancement and strengthened sector support institutions to improve incomes of farmers and firms along the value chain.
Minister Jobe said these certificates will help enterprises to continue to engage in processing and value addition of products for export and the domestic market, noting that local trainings have successfully guided seven companies through the HACCP implementation process. He added that of these seven enterprises, five have applied and reached HACCP certification.
“I must confirm that this is a landmark achievement in the history of international trade in The Gambia as this is the first time Gambian enterprises are able to reach HACCP certification,” he said, while commending the ITC for their collaborative support.
According to him, HACCP system brings about a lot of benefits to the enterprises such as reducing risk of processing and selling unsafe products for human consumption and risk of accidental contamination which will in turn generate consumer confidence. He, therefore, urged enterprises to take maximum advantage of the HACCP certification and exploit further market access opportunities.
Fatim Njie, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, said over the years, the Ministry has been striving to assist enterprises to meet HACCP requirements to help them secure access to overseas markets for their exports.
Recognising the relatively small size of the domestic market, she said significant growth in the economy would benefit from sustained export development, adding that the main export constraints as identified in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) include meeting overseas market requirements.
Roben Phoolchind, ITC Chief Officer for Africa, said the certification marks a new beginning to exploit new markets. He said the ITC is the only market that helps The Gambia to do trading in the areas of horticulture products in other African countries. He added that they have been working very closely with the Ministry towards the development of trade outside.
Speaking on behalf of the certified participants, Modou Ceesay of The Gambia Horticulture Enterprise and Bai Dodou Jallow both thanked the Ministry and their partners for giving them such opportunities to develop their respective enterprises.
by Arfang MS Camara