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Gambia Launches National Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee


Abdoulie Jallow,
Senior Scientific Officer
Food Safety and Quality Authority, Gambia

The National Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee of the Gambia was launched on 21st of February 2023, at a ceremony held at the premises of the Food Safety and Quality Authority of the Gambia.

SPS Measures are vital instruments used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other relevant international multilateral agencies to ensure food safety, protection of plants and animals from pests and diseases and the facilitation of international agricultural trade. National SPS Committees are in-country multi-stakeholder platforms formed by members of the WTO to facilitate national discussion and consensus on SPS-related matters such as international trade disputes and negotiations.

The Gambia National SPS committee was launched in 2016; however, since then, due to budgetary and coordination issues, its activities have been significantly limited. In response to the inactivity of the committee, The Government of the Gambia, through The Food Safety and Authority, deemed it necessary to reconstitute and launch this important committee. Speaking at the launching ceremony, Mr. Mamodou Bah, the Director General of the Food Safety and Quality of the Gambia, assured members of the new committee of his office’s commitment to ensure the newly formed committee does not face the same difficulties as the previous one.

Led by the Food Safety and Quality of the Gambia, the committee is comprised of twenty-two members from different stakeholder agencies within the government, private and consumer sectors of the country. The Gambia, like other agri-based developing countries faces significant trade challenges in SPS-related matters such as non-compliance with food safety, animal and plant health international regulations and standards. Mr. Kutuba Jarju, an SPS specialist, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration, stressed the importance and relevance of this committee, especially at a time when the government is working hard to diversify and enhance the performance of the country’s agricultural sector. Similar remarks were echoed by Dr. Amadou Sowe, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Food Safety and Quality Authority.

The newly formed committee is expected to hold its first working session in the coming weeks, where it will identify key challenges, elect a chairman and vice-chairman who will be charged with coordinating the affairs of the committee.

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