Food Coalition

Regional trade promotion and food safety standards

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, efficient access to major domestic and international markets for agricultural inputs and food products was a challenge in most of the countries across Europe and Central Asia, as evident in the low levels of intraregional trade. The situation has worsened in recent months as the pandemic has spread. Agrifood value-chain disruptions are altering the patterns of the food supply and availability and changing the way markets operate. Countries’ ability to adapt to the new trading environment will influence their recovery. Solutions are needed to revive and facilitate intraand interregional trade, enhance market infrastructure, boost connectivity and create an enabling policy and regulatory environment. The pandemic has also drawn attention to the issue of food safety. Consumers are looking at food handling and hygiene, as well as their food choices, while value-chain actors, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have to improve compliance with food safety standards as they adapt to new market channels and opportunities. To safeguard their participation in the market, food producers and processors must ensure they meet the safety standards of destination markets. However, they face multiple challenges, including a lack of knowledge when it comes to food safety practices and management system implementation, inadequate equipment and technology, and a lack of investment to improve business frameworks, marketing and trade infrastructure. This makes it difficult for small-scale value-chain actors to sustain income-generating activities and develop resilience to current and future socioeconomic shocks. Governance and the enabling environment are key to ensuring that smallholders can overcome the array of challenges they face. Countries require a robust national food safety control system, with clear food safety standards and regulations that align internationally, adequate laboratory capacity, risk-based inspection, technical guidance and advice for smallholders and the food business sector. This programme will address the underlying trade and food safety constraints in the context of the evolving pandemic with an evidence-based approach and context-tailored interventions aimed at restoring, maintaining and diversifying domestic and intraregional trade.

Priority Areas of work: Trade and Food Safety Standards
SDG: 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Well-being, 5. Gender Equality, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Level: Regional
Region: Europe and Central Asia
Country: Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Budget: USD 4 million


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