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Trinidad and Tobago official pledges support to help Vanuatu establish a bureau of food safety standards

Theodore Reddock, Acting Executive Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), has pledged support to help Vanuatu establish a bureau of standards.

On 6 November 2015, Reddock met with Vanuatu representative, Ruth Amos, manager of the Food Technology Development Centre and Analytical Unit, Ministry of Trade, who is charged with the responsibility of helping her government set up this bureau.

Amos was in Trinidad to participate in CTA's learning journey, 'Meeting Food Safety Standards for Product and Process Certification of Agri-food Enterprises, and for Good Health and Nutrition,' which took place at the Premier Quality Services Limited (PQSL), Trincity, from 2 to 6 November 2015, as part of the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum.

The meeting was facilitated by CTA's Judith Ann Francis, Senior Programme Coordinator for Science and Technology Policy.

"It is very encouraging that Vanuatu is using the TTBS as a model and we would want to make sure you can get off the ground in the shortest possible time," Reddock said.

Amos said their aim is to have the Vanuatu Bureau of Standards set up by 2017. She said that the third draft Bill should go before Parliament during its last sitting at the end of the year or at the first sitting in the new year. She has requested assistance from TTBS in the area of capacity building, standards of development and certification, and has also asked to use the TTBS regulations as a basis for developing regulations for Vanuatu.

The learning journey gave participants an understanding of the concepts and principles of good manufacturing practices and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). Sean Victor, one of the journey's facilitators, also pledged to continue to work with the group from the Pacific region to help them make the kind of changes necessary in terms of food safety systems.

Victor lauded CTA's commitment to capacity building in food safety and agricultural skills, and for bringing this group together to interface with what they had to offer. These activities were funded through the EU-funded Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme component that CTA manages. "We do take very seriously the role and opportunity granted through CTA in doing something much more than dispensing a course," said Victor.

In response to the Pacific group's request for training follow-up, Victor acknowledged that what he shared with them during the five-day learning journey alone would not allow the participants to make the kind of changes necessary in their own countries. "There is a need for follow-up. You have identified what you need and working with you this week, I have some ideas how we can procreate a solution and procreate results.

"One of the things we lack, too often and certainly as we share this space we call developing world and developing country, is what we call innovation. We are creative and we are just as good as anybody else, but sometimes we do not use that in an innovative way to create our own solutions and the results that we want."

He said that, based on their collective ideas, needs and desires, he believes they can identify an approach which should gain traction.

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