Some Gambian products such as groundnuts and fishery products, which are the country’s main export products, are rejected from entry into the European Union market for not meeting the required standards, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment has revealed.
|Hon Kolley, Minister of Trade|
“The country’s competitiveness in both local and international trade is at stake, especially if no concrete actions are taken to address these issues in a more systematic manner,” the Trade Minister, Hon. Abdou Kolley, said in a statement read on his behalf by his deputy permanent secretary, Mr Ceesay, during a daylong exhibition of made-in-Gambia held at the premises of Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) on Tuesday.
The event, organized by MOTIE in collaboration with the West Africa Quality Programme and Enhanced Integrated Framework, was part of series of activities marking this year’s celebration of World Standards Day, commemorated on the 14th October.
The exhibition was stage to showcase locally processed and manufactured food products that seek to satisfy quality and standard requirements, and it brought together local food processors and manufacturers including; Gam Juice, Gambega, and Mouhktara Holding.
These are ‘made-in-Gambia’ food products that are fit for consumption and also export if the packaging techniques can be improved and external markets found for them, Trade Minister explained.
Hon. Kolley noted that the Gambia has immense productive and export potentials in a number of areas in the agric-food sector, which has the potential to transform and add value to primary products through processing and manufacturing.
“These potentials, however, are not being fully exploited not only because of limited output, in terms of exports, but also due to standard, quality and safety issues,” he said.
He explained that the issue of quality should not only be viewed from the perspective of exports and imports but also what is locally produced and consumed. “This is because of the fact that most of what is being produced locally in some instances are consumed in the country. Hence the health and safety hazard for the populace if proper quality and safety issues are not addressed.”
Hon. Kolley urged the general public to appreciate the impressive transformation or value addition made on local food products by the local manufacturers and food processors and to patronize them by buying what is on sale. He said in this we are promoting the culture of ‘buy and consume locally produced Gambian foodstuff’.
On 14th October, 2011, the Gambia joined the international community in celebrating World Standards Day with an Information Sharing Seminar held at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, said the day is celebrated to pay tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of individuals who give their time and expertise to standardization.