Mar 3, 2012

EDES Workshop on Food Regulatory Framework for export to EU

A report of EDES of ACP-EU was commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to review the regulatory framework for exporting poultry and honey to the EU market. At the 2 day workshop the report was discuused and gaps in the regulatory framework were identified and discussed with the major stakeholders.
Courtesy Le Mauricien of 29 FEB 2012
  In a few years of possible exports to countries of the region and to Europe could amount to 5,000 tons annually, generating gross revenues of approximately EUR 10 million per year. This is what emerges from the findings of a consultancy mission report of the Programme EDES ACP-EU and submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Dr. Gary Francis, and Dr. Mathilde Saulnier, were in Mauritius in October last year at the request of the Mauritian authorities for economic evaluation of the poultry and honey sector, its export potential to the EU and the possibilities to increase the level if necessary for easy access.

The private sector side, it appears that poultry production in Mauritius has almost doubled in ten years, from 25,600 tonnes in 2000 to 46,000 tons in 2010, an increase of 20,400 tons. The prospects for growth are the most optimistic as an output of 60,000 tons in 2015 and 80,000 tons by 2020 are envisaged.

Regarding the outlook for exports, the Economic Partnership Agreement signed with the EU in 2009 could be an opening of markets on the block and de facto international recognition in terms of safety standards.
The consultants believe that Mayotte and Reunion represent potential markets advantageous because of their proximity compared to France. For example, they cite the virtual dependency of Mayotte Import (99%) for its chicken needs table, or 7000 tons.
The report estimates that if their recommendations are implemented our exports of chicken and processed products to countries in the region and to Europe could be around 5000 tons annually, generating gross revenues of approximately EUR 10 million per year in a few years time

According to the report, large producing companies will have to invest between 2.5 and 3 million euros in the coming years to be able to export to the EU. The two main poultry companies mentioned are already preparing in case of an eventual agreement, and aware of the necessity to adapt to European market requirements, have already begun to make the investment. However, their entry into this segment after such an agreement with the EU would have significant impacts on the local poultry industry. Their biggest customers (hotels, supermarket chains and restore international brands) will prefer to buy from companies with guaranteed quality standards.  

This could, they argue, affect how poultry producers. Also, it is recommended the government to support medium-sized slaughterhouses and their independent suppliers by offering them the opportunity to modernize their equipment and to rise to European standards. Similarly, in order to protect consumer interests, the consultants believe it would be good to have healthy competition in this sector, with three or four major poultry companies private to avoid an increase in chicken prices and derivatives. In addition, the report highlights the high price of chicken in Mauritius, between 2 and 2.5 euros per kilo compared to 1.75 euro in Europe, 1 euro and Brazil. This is mainly attributed to the high cost of chicken feed. In this regard, the authors focus on building for the export of products with high added value or targeting niche markets.

Food Act: "Outdated"
Directed to government authorities, the report recommends several urgent decisions.
Particular, the revision of the regulatory framework: Food Act, Meat Act and Animal Health Act, which require a complete revision. The Food Act is described as "outdated", essentially the producer responsibility for food safety, HACCP principles is ignored; guidelines of the Ministry of Health incomplete and inadequate, the law does not allow identify health risks for the country. In short, "this legislation is dangerous and Unable to Ensure a minimum food safety, event in the context of Mauritius," write Dr. Gary and Saulnier. Similarly Mauritius has not an institutional framework consistent with international standards for control of the sector. There are too many ministries and departments responsible for quality control; ditto for veterinary control. However, there is a lack of coordination and information sharing to a risk assessment sector. The same goes for the many more laboratories as they are not networked. The report recommends the creation of a single "Competent Authority in the EU's meaning." 

Adapted from  Le Mauricien 

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