The National, Wednesday 24th April 2013
By JOE IVAHARIA
INCREASING cases of food-borne diseases and food poisoning have prompted government intervention in the way food is produced, processed and handled, a workshop has been told.
Acting agriculture and livestock department secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava told a workshop on “risk communication on food safety systems” in Port Moresby that there was a direct correlation between the wealth of a nation and how it produced and used food.
He said governments were implementing policies, rules and regulations on food safety that had become a part of doing business in agriculture and food.
He told the workshop participants that for PNG there was an immediate need for the food industry to “develop competencies which were market-related”.
“This workshop will contribute immensely to ensuring that all stakeholders in the food supply chain are well informed, closely linked and highly responsive to local and international market requirements and demands,” Ila’ava said.
“As a nation, the message for agriculture is loud and clear, and that is, we must start transforming the PNG agriculture sector from a subsistence and semi-commercial establishment to a climate-smart, business-oriented powerhouse that will lay a solid foundation for sustainable development and prosperity for all.”
He referred to the recent visits by the prime minister of Fiji and minister of state for the United Kingdom foreign and Commonwealth office – both leaders predicted significant increases in trade with PNG, with agriculture featuring in their statements.
The 15 participants were selected from government agencies, including the National Fisheries Authority, Department of Health, Cocoa Board, NCDC, UPNG and Department of Agriculture and Livestock.
The workshop was organised by the department with the European Union-funded EDES programme.
The workshop ends on Friday.