Guyana to update laws to ensure safer production, packaging of food – IICA
Guyana will soon receive assistance to strengthen its legislative framework under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) programme by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Wilmot Garnett, IICA’s country’s representative, on Tuesday said that Guyana is among three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that will be assisted with its food security agenda by improving its sanitary and phytosanitary practices during the production and packaging of food.
Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are quarantine and biosecurity measures, which are applied to protect human, animal or plant life or health from risks arising from the introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases and from risks arising from additives, toxins and contaminants in food and feed.
Guyana was selected to benefit from this assistance because of some inability to comply with international SPS standards for trade in agriculture and fisheries products which resulted in reduced access to global and regional markets.
It was found that among the main constraints was fragmented legislation, inadequate enforcement and limited human resources even as SPS was an evolving requirements of trading partners.
The announcement was made during a brief ceremony dedicated to World Food Safety Day 2022, under the theme “Safe food, better health”.
“For Guyana, the Fisheries Amendment Bill which will seek to modernise the fisheries sector to include regulation of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing that affects the fishing regime both locally and internationally… general plant health regulation, this regulation aims to modernise the plant health regime, enhancing more effective measures for the protection of Guyana’s territory and its plants,” Garnett said.
He explained that food safety information and dissemination is important and added that current work with the Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO is to finalise the Food Safety Bill and prepare plans to operationalise the food safety authority. He said that three countries are benefitting from the SPS project.
Also in attendance at the La Bonne Intention Cricket Ground were Natasha Beerjit-Deonarine, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Gillian Smith, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative, Dr Ozaye Dodson, Chairman of the National Codex Committee and Mary Ann Greene, Guyana’s consultant at the FAO.
Beerjit-Deonarine said that “food safety and quality are of paramount importance the theme for the world food safety is “Safe Food, better heath, as simple as it sounds, it is indeed fitting as it is a profound intent to foster comprehensive Agro-food system. A system characterised by food that is good, safe, whole some and nutrition food for everyone to be safe and healthy.”
She added, “Our national policies are aligned with the CARICOM vision 25 by 2025. Guyana’s lead for agriculture in CARICOM has been on the fast track to replacing imported food and being a major regional exporter of food.”