Capacity for Africa to exploit its full agricultural trade potential depend on Animal Health Organization (OIE) standards, Cabinet Secretary, Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by Lorna Odera, Director of Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the CS termed implementation of the standards as critical in facilitation of trade and dispute resolution.
The standards require active institutional, country and regional participation to enhance delivery for timely wor k accomplishment, he said adding that the use of key Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures was key to the competitiveness of regionally traded commodities and products.
Speaking during the opening of a Health Organization Regional training Workshop on Facilitating Safe International Trade, Kiunjuri noted that there was need to create awareness among top government policy makers by involving them in OIE activities including participation in the world assembly sessions to facilitate domestication of OIE standards
This training comes at a time when the continent is focused on improving animal health and fair trade practices, he said adding that the government has enhanced the coordination of the member’s participation in adoption of harmonized OIE standards.
Kenyan food safety experts, he said have contributed to the development of the now adopted OIE chapters on Control and prevention of Salmonella in commercial cattle and pig production.
Director of Veterinary Services, Obadiah Njagi said the training will assist the regional stakeholders in setting standards that will improve welfare of animals and also avoid disagreements in international trade.
He said that Kenya had in excess of 60 billion worth of trade in animal and animal’s products to the world and largely exports in beef to North Africa, dairy, slaughtered chicken and live animals, hides and skins and genetic materials.
Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, the Sub � Saharan regional representative at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said Africa has 54 members who are currently discussing on ways to set standards of trade and capacity building so that they can fully participate in standardizing trading atthe world level.
This meeting will help member countries understand how they can negotiate with neighbor countries when it comes to trade and also how safe to handle animal products based on scientific information, he said
Myra Bernardi from Delegation of European Union to Kenya said African countries should work together to come up with harmonized certification that will guide them on how to move food.
As one of the biggest importers and exporters in food in Kenya, she said EU wants African countries to consume safer foods and also trade in more.
We hope that in the next three days we will learn about different standards, how to comply, improve on standards and African standardization together to be able to jointly negotiate at the World Trade Organization,Bernardi said.
Source: Kenya News Agency