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CCNASWP / Vinesh Kumar sets the scene for Fiji as the FAO/WHO regional meeting approaches


Vinesh Kumar is the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture in Fiji and will chair the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for North America and the South West Pacific (CCNASWP) that will take place in Nadi from 31 January to 3 February 2023.

Hosting the meeting puts Fiji and the region on the global map and gives us a better platform to be recognized in Codex. We have been involved in the development of the kava standard and other national areas of interest include pesticide residues and antimicrobial resistance. However now is the time to showcase the strengths and the needs of the region.

We do not yet have a separate body dealing with Codex issues and this fragmentation is a challenge for us. At government level there is a focus in terms of making sure our food is safe, but there is also work to be done.

A working group has been developed to establish the groundwork for a national Codex committee. This will combine the ministries of health and agriculture, the biosecurity authority and other institutions that will take part depending on the issues under discussion. Stakeholder awareness is another priority for Fiji and the CCNASWP session will be an opportunity to inform groups such as food exporters of the potential value to them of Codex food safety standards to help overcome some of the trade barriers they experience.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic agricultural exports have doubled in recent years reaching over 50 million USD in 2021 and so we see a real opportunity to use Codex standards to expand into new markets beyond traditional ones such as Australia and New Zealand.

We look forward to Members coming to Fiji and exploring. We hope to share what we can offer in terms of development in Codex and in the country as a whole.


Learn more

Meeting details available on the CCNASWP16 web page.

Photo credit ©FAO/DM

Vinesh Kumar at CCEXEC, 16 November 2022