A Norwegian agency has pledged almost $2.75 million to support food safety in developing countries.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) funding covers 2021 to 2023 and is for the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF). Norad is part of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The STDF is managed by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The money will be used to improve the capacity of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) to comply with international food safety standards, and increase their access to global and regional markets by supporting the development and implementation of projects around safe trade.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the money will support countries in implementing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, including using science-based approaches to protect plant, animal and human health.

“These efforts strengthen the safety and stability of a developing country’s food supply, so thousands of farmers can sell goods in new markets, improving livelihoods.”

The STDF was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Bank Group, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WTO.

Bård Vegar Solhjell, Norad director general, said ensuring that LDCs build capacity and engage in safe trade is one of the keys to economic growth and poverty reduction.

“Food security and enabling viable food systems is a priority for Norwegian development assistance. The global pandemic emphasizes that we must continue to invest in and scale up safe trading systems.”

German donation
In December 2021, Germany contributed just more than $3 million to the STDF for 2021 to 2024 to aid countries in meeting SPS standards.

Projects will help small-scale farmers, producers, traders and governments to access global and regional markets for food and agriculture products.

Germany’s Ambassador to the WTO, Bettina Waldmann, said: “Germany recognizes the need to support developing and least developed countries that have been and still are particularly affected by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Examples of ongoing STDF projects include piloting the use of voluntary third-party assurance (vTPAs) programs in West Africa and Central America.

Other work is looking at aflatoxin control in Ghana, the use of remote inspection techniques and of digital and IT tools in food trade as well as food safety of the pepper value chain in Jamaica.

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