The Samoa National Codex Committee (S.N.C.C) launched its first Strategic Plan 2017-2021 yesterday.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Pulotu Lyndon Chu-Ling, said the plan focuses on achieving better coordination and interaction among member countries for strengthening national food safety systems and promoting compliance of standards in food safety.
The functions of the S.N.C.C are closely linked to legislation, namely the Food Act 2015, Food Regulations 2016 and the Competition and Consumer Act 2016, which governs food standards and consumer protection.
The Strategic Plan is designed to guide S.N.C.C. in critical initiatives to be implemented within a five-year timeframe.
“The Codex committee comprises of the M.C.I.L as well as the Ministry of Health and the private sector organisations of Samoa mainly the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters as well as the Samoa Chamber of Commerce.
“And we also work closely with other Ministries and Agencies who have similar functions to the functions of the Codex Committee.
“The main role of the Codex committee is to look at all possible ways of putting in place, standards of food for the safety of our consumers as well as their health.
“This morning’s launch is the first ever strategic plan which will provide the road map for the work of this National Codex Committee for the five years.
“The overall objective of the plan is to make sure what we are going to do in the next five years is based on the international standards.
“As you are aware Samoa is one of the main importers of goods from overseas, and we also manufacture local goods, and we need to make sure proper standards are in place for the health and safety of our consumers and the people of Samoa.
“So this work we can’t do it alone, and it is why Codex committee is important to partner up to develop these strategic plans.”
What are some of the challenges?
“We need technical expertise as well as financial resources to assist not only the M.C.I.L but also the committee in implementing the different actions and also the support.
“That is why we always encourage working together in partnership with not only local organisations and local agencies, both private sector and government but as well as development partners so that they can contribute to provide support, especially capacity building for our local people.
“The committee is willing to ensure that the actions that are in this strategic plan are put into action. It’s not just another document to be produced to be launched but we need to make sure that everybody involved is committed to the implementation of this activity.”
The Plan will benefit Samoa in the long run.
“For instance kava,” he said. “Kava is one of our main exports and in order for us to benefit from those exports, we have to comply with international standards in terms of medicinal purposes.
“One of the objectives of the kava standards is to provide an outline of how this important local plant could be treated when it’s harvested in order to meet overseas market requirements.
“If we don’t follow those standards, the overseas market obviously will not accept the kava product from Samoa.
“So it will help our local farmers and it is also another area where we will need as a committee to ensure that the awareness is provided so that our people in different sectors will understand the different requirements that needs to be satisfied in order for them to benefit from their crops and for their exports.”