Nairobi, Feb 17 (IANS) A Kenyan scientist has urged the African states to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) processes as a means to boost food safety that is key to tackle hunger on the continent.
Dennis Rangi, director general of Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), said on Saturday the processes are capable of improving food value chain and trade links on the continent.
“This is the only way that we can help improve plant health and food safety on the continent,” Rangi told Xinhua during an interview ahead of CABI African member governments’ meeting scheduled to be held in Botswana on February 25-28.
Rangi noted that the rigorous application of such international SPS standards ensures production, processing and trade of safe and high-quality food products.
He observed that through the processes, agricultural productivity will increase, value will be added to the goods, rural economies will be diversified and small household incomes will rise.
The scientist said that lack of information, knowledge and institutional capacity led to the inability of countries to reduce hazards and gain access to lucrative markets despite the World Trade Organization (WTO) having set out basic rules for the use of SPS measures.
Rangi said that in some cases, countries have implied that the phytosanitary threats have been mistakenly overestimated, creating unintentional trade barriers.
“Inefficiencies in regulatory agencies may further increase the cost of trading — creating so called procedural obstacles,” added Rangi.