NAIROBI, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will host a Pan African summit next week to discuss new strategies geared towards strengthening food safety in the continent amid threats to human health, officials said on Friday.
Mwangi Kiunjuri, cabinet secretary in the ministry of agriculture said the government and multilateral agencies have partnered to host the Sept. 2-6 conference that aims to raise visibility of food safety in Africa.
"The issues of food safety are at the forefront of many African countries and Kenya is proud of the opportunity to host a conference to share ideas and exchange good practices to develop food standards relevant to the region," said Kiunjuri.
Kenya has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to host the Pan African meeting to discuss food safety in the light of growing intra-regional trade.
"Delegates will be discussing the role of food safety practices, laws, regulatory frameworks and standards in securing and expanding competitiveness of regionally traded commodities," said Kiunjuri.
He said that Kenya has rallied behind continental efforts to improve food safety infrastructure amid increased cross border trade in agricultural commodities like coffee, tea, beef, sugar and fish.
"Kenya continues to support development of food safety standards in Africa at a time when the continent is focused on improving consumer health," said Kiunjuri.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the ministry of trade said the upcoming summit will provide a platform for African countries to deliberate on policy and financing interventions required to boost food safety.
"There is need to invest in quality infrastructure to inform assessment of compliance with the set food safety standards," said Munya, adding that investment in modern transport and storage infrastructure will boost safety of agricultural commodities traded across African borders.
The cabinet secretary said that development, adoption and harmonization of standards relating to food safety is key to hastening realization of integration agenda in Africa.
Susan Mochache, principal secretary in the ministry of health said that Kenya has developed regulations and guidelines to mitigate food safety risks that have worsened the burden of infectious diseases in the country.
"Investing in development of regulations, standards, guidelines and consumer food safety education has the potential to reduce foodborne diseases and alleviate poverty," said Mochache.