Trade and food standards have a long tradition. Legislation for food safety has always been of supreme importance even in past eras of time. The foundations of today’s food control are based on establishing organizations and institutes to monitor food safety activities.
The comprehensive management of the agriculture sector is not only essential for the protection of domestic markets and consumers, but also for expanding and promoting the agribusiness sector and looking for a way to export products of agricultural and animal origin. Also, the sustainable development of agricultural resources depends on producing safe and good quality food.
The first step for improving food safety is to review, revise and update the legal framework necessarily. The food safety legislation is an expression of the government will to ensure food quality and consumer protection measures as a matter of public policy. The food safety laws should be clearly defined with administration procedures, authority, rules, regulations, codes of quality, safety standards, processes for handling, the role of producers and the private sector.
The regulations concerning animal quarantine, food safety compliance, and plant and animal inspections can be a burden on the private sector if legislators pass them into law without consulting all the stakeholders or without taking practical issues into account.
It is a righteousness policy to follow up on the issuance of any regulation with information designed to provide explanations and answers to anticipated questions and, where possible, organize education and training seminars to facilitate understanding and compliance with the regulations.
Laws related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) in Afghanistan are under the scope of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL), the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA).
These ministries oversee laws related to the import and export of plants and animals, food safety and quality and national standards respectively. The Government of Afghanistan (GoA) is still on a learning curve and has to focus on activities and legal reforms that will support the modernization of SPS policies in the country. A review of current GoA’s laws, regulations, and procedures related to SPS are longing to identify gaps concerning modern SPS standards.
CABI is already working closely with MAIL and Plant Protection and Quarantine Directorate (PPQD) to implement the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service funded project for capacity building of PPQD staff for SPS trade compliance in Afghanistan.
The CABI team in collaboration with MAIL, MoPH, and ANSA are now in the process of reviewing the current SPS related laws, regulations, and procedures. This activity will lead to identifying the gaps in GoA’s plant quarantine, animal health, pesticide, and food safety laws in comparison to international SPS rules and regulations.
It will also provide support to understanding perspectives of relative authorities on SPS process as well as the challenges faced and their possible solutions. This will help to improve the SPS related measures in Afghanistan, which will ultimately provide an access to agricultural and animal-related products to the high-end markets.
Main image: Farmers in Afghanistan learn how to best manage their livestock in order to meet stricter SPS rules and regulations (Credit: CABI).
Dr Muzammil Farooq
For more information, please contact:
Dr Muzammil Farooq
+92 (0)51 8434979
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