By Rohey Jadama
The European Union (EU) is supporting the food safety control system
in The Gambia, according to a press release from the European Union
(EU) in Banjul.The support mission of Technical Assistance which took place in The
Gambia from 16th to 31st March 2015 is to strengthen the national food
safety control system. The EDES Programme is funded by the European
Union (EU) to the tune of €30 million, equivalent to more than GMD 1.5
billion, stated the release.
It is designed to contribute to the production of safe food in the ACP
(African-Caribbean-Pacific) countries. EDES also aims to secure the
flow of food products of animal and plant origin towards the EU or at
the regional level.
According to the release, the ultimate objective of this programme is
to guarantee food safety for all consumers in the ACP and the EU. It
added that in order to achieve these goals, EDES will develop capacity
building activities, mainly through training, technical assistance,
facilitation or coaching.

“The aim of the last EDES mission of Technical Assistance in The
Gambia was to provide the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA)
with a new management tool to strengthen the performance of sanitary
audits/inspections in conformity with the relevant international
standards”, added the press release. The new database developed is
intended to contribute to a better monitoring of official controls to
protect the health of consumers,” it stated.

It is also noted that food quality inspections are conducted within
several producer organisations and therefore require the registration
of technical data and a rigorous monitoring to ensure the appropriate
follow up of the control activities.

The release further states that the EDES mission provided the
assistance needed in order to launch the testing phase of the
prototype of the Inspection database. The EU funded experts had the
opportunity to work with the control authorities on the design and the
testing of the tailor-made database adapted to the local needs. This
included the identification of producer organisations actively engaged
in export sectors, their activities, and their production, to ensure
that corrective measures demanded by the authorities will be
implemented on time by each producer organisation controlled.

The main purpose of the database is to contribute to the safety of the
food delivered to consumers in The Gambia. The database is also
intended to increase the level of credibility of the Gambian food
safety system to other foreign countries which are potential importers
of Gambian products, ensuring that controls are well performed and
that appropriate follow up is given to all inspections.