A National Agricultural Health and Food Control Agency (NAHFCA) is on the cards for Barbados.

This was announced by Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick, during his address to the Barbados Agricultural Society’s (BAS) Annual General Assembly at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort last Saturday.

He said that plans for the body, which would seek to align local agricultural trade standards, measures and guidelines with international ones, as mandated by the World Trade Organization, were progressing well.

"This project will assist us in our efforts of ensuring that our locally produced products have access to the international market and, as such, will enhance the competitiveness of domestic products," the Agriculture Minister stated.

Dr. Estwick added that the establishment of the NAHFCA had implications for goods entering the local market.

"It will also afford us the opportunity to test imported products and exclude those that do not comply with our standards," he noted.

The Agriculture Minister also revealed that instituting the Agency would require, among other things, the development of the requisite legal and regulatory framework, the establishment of systems, training of staff and the construction of laboratory and quarantine facilities.

With regard to food and nutritional security, Dr. Estwick said his Ministry, in collaboration with the National Nutrition Centre, had given priority to the development of a Food and Nutrition Security Policy and Plan.

This, he pointed out, builds on the Regional Food and Security Policy which was approved by the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) during its meeting in October this year.

"Through this plan, we will be seeking to address the issues of food availability, access and utilisation, with emphasis being placed on nutrition, as we play our part in helping to control the increasing incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases," Dr. Estwick explained.??askeete@barbados.gov.bb

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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