Cabinet Minister explains
Businesses that use the Government’s pack house facility qualify for hazard analysis and critical control points (H.A.C.C.P.) certification.
This is what the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua, said yesterday in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
The Minister was questioned on how one local company, Samoa Agromarketing, was given certification.
“Part of the government’s mandate is to assist the business community and anyone in Samoa who wants to export, we will help them as much as we can under the law,” Lopao’o said.
The Minister was unclear on whether the business community is aware of the services provided by the Ministry of Agriculture (M.A.F.) through the pack house facility.
Last year, local company Samoa Agromarketing was given the green light by the former Minister of Agriculture, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, in a letter dated 21 August 2017 to use the Government’s pack house facility and thus qualify for the H.A.C.C.P. certification.
Lopao’o said he could not speak for his predecessor but it is understood the Government was assisting the export company.
Asked whether this is allowed, the Minister said they are always ready to assist the business community.
“We help everybody and in doing so, we have built a pack house in Savai’i and Vaitele. We help facilitate the H.A.C.C.P. certification for companies. I understand that other companies bring in experts from overseas but that is their prerogative.
“If you have a packing facility, you need to get your own certification but if not, you can use the Government’s facility for exporting purposes and that comes with certification – given that our facility is H.A.C.C.P. certified.
“The Samoa Agromarketing is utilising the Government’s facility in Savai’i and they export coconut and taro and in return the farmer in Savai’i gets revenues” he said.
When the Minister was asked on whether companies using the pack house facility pay a fee, he said the service was free in the past but a fee of 10 sene per kilo is now charged.
“For the 2017 financial year, the Government spent $250,000 for the packing houses in Savai’i. However, that has changed when I came on board. The Government is charging 10 sene per kilo to pay for utilities for the packing house. The fee to use the packing house was cabinet approved.”
See letter below that was issued by the former minister for agriculture, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea P.F. Von Schmidt.
21 August 2017
Mr John Low
Samoa Agro Marketing
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: HACCP Certification Confirmation for Samoa AgroMarketing
Samoa AgroMarketing has been exporting agriculture commodities such as taro and mature coconuts since 2012. In fact, since 2012 Samoa AgroMarketing was instrumental in the revitalization of the Samoa taro export industry and has been using the Government Pack House Facilities.
The Samoa Government Pack House is a modern facility, which has in place health and hygiene standards and processes. The Samoa Government through its Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has engaged HACCP Australia to put in place a health and hygiene standard manual under HACCP. A draft plan has been developed and we envisaged that this be completed by September 2017 and with the implementation of the procedures and checklist including the training of all exporters.
I wish to confirm that Samoa AgroMarketing will be one of these exporters that will be issued the HACCP certification. A copy of this HACCP certificate will be issued and provided by Samoa AgroMarketing to your company.
In the meantime prior to this issue of certification with a target date of early October 2017, your company may use this letter to commence communications/negotiations with Retailers such as Supermarket that requires such certification. Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you require further information.
Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea P.F. Von Schmidt
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES