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Despite concerns over acceptance of African agricultural produce in the European Union (EU), a study on Tuesday revealed that the adoption of food safety regulations will promote inter-regional trade of agriculture commodities to the EU.
The study, titled “Food Safety Regulations and Export Responses of Developing Nations: Lessons from South Africa and Namibia’s Fresh and Frozen Fish Exports to the EU”, was presented by Shingirirai Mashura, a Certified Economist from the University of Zimbabwe.
Mashura delivered the paper during a session on agricultural trade, at the ongoing 11th African Economic Conference in Abuja. The annual conference is organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Mashura said African nations cannot witness genuine agro-allied industrialization unless they look beyond producing for local consumption.
The researcher, during the session explained how the EU Zero Tolerance Policy (2002) stiffened agriculture export procedures before the Harmonisation Policy (2005) was introduced to ease export processes.
Mashura, however, identified the need for African countries to embrace research and development (R&D). “We need food safety regulations to protect exports,” he said. Otherwise, he warned, “we will be confined to local markets without exploring the international market.
“We should promote regional trade and local institutions on food regulations and trade.”
In his contribution, the discussant, Edris Hussein Seid from the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute, Ethiopia, observed that, since 2002 guidelines were more stringent than those in 2005, there ought to be an increase in the exports of fresh frozen foods to the EU.
In response, Mashura offered to review the research and make the necessary adjustments.
The Chair of the session, Adeleke Salami, a Senior Research Economist with the AfDB, commended the researcher for examining issues surrounding agricultural trade in Africa.