Min­istry trains 25 in global food stan­dards

Sunday Express - - EXPRESS BUSINESS - Retha­bile Pitso

AS part of ini­tia­tives to­wards build­ing ca­pac­ity in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­ter­na­tional food safety stan­dards, the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing (MTICM) re­cently held a four-week course in which 25 peo­ple were trained.

The work­shop, which ended on Thurs­day, equipped the par­tic­i­pants with skills to in­spect and an­a­lyse food qual­ity, which are key global re­quire­ments for food ex­por­ta­tion.

It was sup­ported by the En­hanced In­te­grated Frame­work (EIF), which is un­der the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Par­tic­i­pants to the work­shop in­cluded of­fi­cials from the MTICM, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Food se­cu­rity, Green­house ben­e­fi­cia­ries and in­di­vid­ual farm­ers from the fruit and veg­etable sec­tors. They re­ceived train­ing in qual­ity stan­dards, con­tain­ers, pack­ag­ing re­quire­ments, mark­ing re­quire­ments, sampling pro­ce­dures, meth­ods of in­spec­tion and chem­i­cal treat­ment in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

In a speech read on his be­half by MTICM Chief Stan­dards Of­fi­cer Makara Ntjoka, MTICM Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Lekhooe Makhate, said the train­ing would qual­ify the trainees for fu­ture posts which gov­ern­ment will cre­ate in its en­deav­our to raise the stan­dards of home-pro­duced food­stuffs.

“It is be­fit­ting that you are pi­o­neers of food safety, trace­abil­ity and in­spec­tion in the fruit and veg­etable sec­tor in Le­sotho, and that when the time is ripe, the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho will cre­ate a Le­sotho Good Agri­cul­tural Prac­tice (LES GAP), an en­deav­our to which you will ac­cept when you are called to par­tic­i­pate in,” Mr Makhate said.

He added that there was a need for Le­sotho and South Africa to forge an agree­ment to put in place rec­om­men­da­tions for min­i­mum stan­dards for ex­ports in the fruit and fresh veg­etable sec­tor.

EIF Project Manager Mahlape Qoane said the train­ing would fully ac­com­plish its pur­pose when lo­cal prod­ucts begin to in­fil­trate in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, es­pe­cially such prod­ucts as mush­rooms whose cul­ti­va­tion has re­ceived a lot of at­ten­tion from Chi­nese ex­perts.

“We are look­ing for­ward to a time when Le­sotho will es­tab­lish a mar­ket cen­tre where fresh pro­duce meant for re­tail is sold af­ter em­ploy­ing this prod­uct testing hub which is a re­quire­ment for in­ter­na­tional trade,” said Ms Qoane.

“We want the food to qual­ify for both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional con­sump­tion and also have the prod­ucts cer­ti­fied here at home.

“Through the in­te­grated pro­gramme, which also in­volved the in­put of Chi­nese ex­perts, the Masianokeng mush­room plant has evolved so much that we now have mush­room farm­ers in all the coun­try’s 10 dis­tricts and, hope­fully, our food will soon be recog­nised be­yond Le­sotho.”

On his part, the train­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tor, Per­ish­able Prod­ucts Ex­port Con­trol Board (PPECB), Fran­cois Smit, urged the par­tic­i­pants to share the skills they ac­quired in or­der to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion as the coun­try could no longer con­tinue to rely on im­ports.

MTICM Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Lekhooe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.