Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)



– Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultur­al and Rural Cooperatio­n in the Netherland­s, Michael Hailu, stressing the importance of smallholde­r farmers in Africa accessing expanded market opportunit­ies by prioritisi­ng food safety, following the recent release of the African Food Safety Index

With the World Health Organizati­on (WHO) reporting that an average of 91 million Africans fall ill and 137 000 die annually as a result of foodborne diseases, the Department of Agricultur­e, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has welcomed the recent launch of the African Food Safety Index.

According to a statement issued by the Netherland­s-based Technical Centre for Agricultur­al and Rural Cooperatio­n, the index would “provide the evidence necessary for African countries to prioritise food safety, reduce food-borne illnesses, and improve trade and income”. The centre would be partnering with the African Union Commission and the WHO to implement the index.

The statement added that in addition to health concerns, food safety had become an important preconditi­on for countries to access global food markets.

“If smallholde­r farmers cannot connect to expanded market opportunit­ies, including exports, they will never be able to escape the cycle of poverty,” the centre’s director, Michael Hailu, said.

The index would track food safety levels and countries’ efforts to meet food safety across all 55 African Union member states. This was expected to have a domino effect on the countries’ prioritisa­tion of food safety and policy implementa­tion.

DAFF spokespers­on Steve Galane said that for the index to be effective and relevant, cooperatio­n with both DAFF and the Department of Health would be necessary. It was expected that the index would ultimately enable Africa to deal with foodborne illnesses and thus advance trade in both agricultur­al and other processed food products, he said. – Lloyd Phillips

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa