The Government of Liberia and the Liberia Agro-Business Development Activities (LADA) have held a one day dialogue aimed at creating awareness among stakeholders on the development and legislation of National Quality and Standards Act, and National Food Law.
When enacted, the law will serve as a gateway to increasing agricultural production and access to regional and international markets. The ceremony was held at a local hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia under the theme; “National Quality Infrastructure and Food Safety Regime; key to enhancing health, safety and promotion of free trade.”
Stakeholders from the Liberia Business Association, Smallholder business, and private sector, Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture and Health, among others participated.Addressing the launch recently in Monrovia, LADA acting Chief of Party, Louis Faoro, described Liberia as a country with great potential but lacks market to consume all the food produced and safety measures that meets international standards.
“Liberia needs food standards, laboratories that are capable of conducting proper testing that assures citizens and the outside world of the quality of food that the country offers,” says Mr. Faoro.He stresses that the importance of these implementations will also impact the lives of families as they are first consumers of most of the food produced locally.
The Codex program is aiming to address safety and market needs for Liberian produce as it will qualify them for export and at the same time increase income generation of farmers.
The chief of party says LADA is a US$20 million US Government Feed the Future project, which is helping farmers get access to finance and increase their revenue capacity.It initially operated in the cassava, rice and vegetable value chains but recently added cocoa and fishery on approval by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Julius Saye Keh-Nel, Codex Focal Person, recalls the bringing in of two American food experts to help chart a way for Liberia’s Food Safety Mechanism.
He discloses the completion of the draft National Quality and Standards Act and National Food Law which, he says will be validated on June 28 -29 with the hope of forwarding it to the Ministries of Commerce, Health and Agriculture for onward submission to the National Legislature.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne