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Improving food safety in Bangladesh

Workshop for the validation of guidelines for implementation of food safety in the horticulture value chain


26/04/2016

The FAO Food Safety Programme is collaborating with the Hortex Foundation and the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) to develop food safety guidelines for implementation across the value chains of four horticultural crops – mango, brinjal, potato and tomato. The guidelines have been used to deliver training programmes in Good Agriculture Practices to 30 Master Trainers, 100 Lead Trainers, 500 Lead Farmers and more than 200 Value Chain actors. The training has been certified by an accredited UK-based agency. These guidelines have since been converted into 10 operational controls at key points in the value chain including farm preparation, production, harvest, post-harvest, transport, storage, wholesale and retail. The implementation of these guidelines at the upazila level have monitored by DAE officials through the use of tablet PCs and by farmers through record books. Lessons learnt from the monitoring data were then used to upgrade the guidelines.

 The final draft of the guidelines was discussed in a validation workshop organized by the Food Safety Programme in collaboration with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) in the BARC conference room. 30 participants including horticulturists, agricultural scientists, farmers and representatives from the private sector participated in the deliberations chaired by Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Executive Chairman, BARC. The Chief Guest on the occasion was Mr. Md. Mosharraf Hussain, Additional Secretary (Extension), Ministry of Agriculture. Dr. Md. Hamidur Rahman, Director General, DAE and Dr. Wais Kabir, Team Leader for Mapping Exercise of Waterlogging in South West Bangladesh were the special guests.

The Officer-in-Charge of the Food Safety Programme, Sridhar Dharmapuri, commenced proceedings with a presentation of the Programme’s activities in the area of value chains. These include fisheries and poultry apart from horticulture. He described the rationale behind the development of the guidelines, the progress and key achievements. Dr. Md. Saleh Ahmed, Senior Value Chain expert presented the guidelines in detail. He outlined the challenges and important food safety hazards and the mitigating measures at each step of the value chain. The presentations were followed by a robust discussion led by Dr. Rahimuddin Ahmed, retired DG, DAE and Dr. T.M. Tajul Islam, retired Agriculturist, World Bank. The participants agreed that the guidelines would be a useful resource for implementing food safety not only the four value chains piloted but could also be extended to other fruits and vegetables. The Chief Guest also reiterated the Ministry of Agriculture’s commitment in this regard and requested FAO to submit further ideas and proposals for dissemination of GAP. The guidelines will now undergo a final round of editing and sent for endorsement of Ministry of Agriculture.

The Food Safety Programme warmly thanks the BARC and the DAE for their participation at the workshop and the Hortex Foundation for their partnership in the development and implementation of the guidelines.