3 countries to benefit from food safety standards project


African Development Bank and FAO sign food safety funding agreement


A new project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) aims to improve food safety standards of small-to-medium food processing businesses in the Sahel’s Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal so that they can better participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The magnitude of the public health burden due to foodborne diseases is comparable to that of malaria or HIV AIDS, but most foodborne disease is preventable with proper food handling and education.

Safe food allows for the uptake of nutrients, promotes long-term human development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Safe food production also improves economic opportunities by enabling market access and productivity.

The EUR 1 million project will specifically target agribusinesses owned by women and young people to improve their competitiveness in cross-border and regional trade.

“Better food control systems will enable the various actors in the food supply chain, and in particular small and medium-sized agri-food enterprises, to adopt higher standards for their products. This will enhance their competitiveness, stimulate trade and income generation, maintain the supply of safe, quality food, and restore consumer confidence in the food supply chain,” said Burkina Faso Minister of Industrial Development, Trade, Handicrafts and Small and Medium Enterprises Abdoulaye Tall, at an event in Ouagadougou marking the inauguration of the project.

“One of the AfDB’s priorities is to feed Africa, not only by working to improve food security, but also to make Africa a food exporter and move the continent to the top of export-orientated global value chains where it has comparative advantage,” said Daniel Ndoye, AfDB Country Manager in Burkina Faso.

Safer food, better health

Women and young agripreneurs will be trained to produce and trade higher quality and hygienic food products for domestic and regional markets, including adopting food safety and standardisation certification practices.

The project also aims to promote food safety protocols and harmonisation across the region and the removal of unnecessary trade barriers which will support implementation of the AfCFTA.

“This is an important investment by the African Development Bank in partnership with FAO for better food safety in Africa,” said Blaise Ouattara, Food Safety and Quality Officer at FAO’s Regional Office for Africa and Lead Technical Officer for the project. “It will not only have outcomes at the individual level in improving the livelihoods of the participants, but will help drive major changes in the way food is handled and traded in the region,” he said.

The three-year project will also strengthen the capacity of national food safety authorities for systematic monitoring of the quality and standards of domestic and imported foods.

FAO advocates for systemic changes across agriculture, food, trade and industry that promote food safety, so that safe and healthy diets are accessible for all.

Facts and figures

  • One in ten people worldwide fall ill from contaminated food each year. It affects all countries.
  • Over 200 diseases are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals.
  • Antimicrobial resistant microbes can be transmitted through the food chain, via direct contact between animals and humans or through the environment. Each year, an estimated 700 000 people die around the globe because of antimicrobial resistant infections.
  • Children under the age of five are at a higher risk of malnutrition and mortality due to unsafe food and carry 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden. Unsafe food caused one in six deaths from diarrhoea, a major killer in this age group.
  • The safety of food is affected by the health of animals, plants and the environment within which it is produced. Adopting a holistic One Health approach to food safety will deliver a better food safety system.


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