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Improving food safety in Bangladesh

New certified food control programme for farmers and value chain actors launched in Bangladesh


03/12/2014

Bangladesh and many other countries have struggled to gain full commitment from the farming sector to put in place food safety controls. This is often due to the perceived cost of implementing these controls. To try to rectify this, a new food safety programme targeting the horticulture, poultry and finfish aquaculture sectors is underway.

The first activities are a series of food safety training workshops targeting these three sectors – horticulture from November 22-27, poultry from November 29-December 4 and finfish aquaculture from December 6-11. These ‘master trainers’ workshops have been certified by a top 10 UK Awarding Body (NOCN) and are being delivered by the FAO Food Safety Programme and a leading UK productivity institute, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Extension and Hortex Foundation (horticulture sector), the Department of Livestock Services (poultry sector) and the Department of Fisheries and the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (finfish aquaculture sector). In each workshop, thirty master trainers from the respective partners are being trained. The workshop programme is highly interactive and is designed to enable the master trainers to lead change programmes in food safety best practices in the field. The programme links the benefits of good control with farm productivity in the horticulture, poultry and finfish aquaculture sectors. The teams are spending an equal amount of time understanding the ba

rriers and motivating factors needed to drive change as well as gain practical expertise in good food control. The master trainers are given training and communication skills and they then design their own simple activities to change farm practice based on business messages. These messages will be cascaded through lead trainer workshops and ultimately to lead farmers and associated value chain actors in the field. The improved practices will then be implemented by the farmers and further actively supported and monitored by the field officers of the respective sectors, including through the use of mobile technology. Professor Dillon, who leads the programme, reported that 780,000 farmers in Turkey adopted better control in 2013 after the first 600,000 farmers that received support and guidance by mobile technology reported productivity and profit increases of some USD 200 million. Farmers won’t change practises until we help change their minds about the business benefits of improved control.