More Training for Public Health Officials

Story Highlights

  • Public health officials are to receive further training this fiscal year in food safety and other related standards under the European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Capacity Building Project.
  • It is also intended to promote sensitisation and dialogue with the private sector on technical barriers to trade (TBT) and Sanitary PhytoSanitary (SPS) issues...
  • The project, which is being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), with funding from the EU, was originally slated to run from May, 2012 to May, 2015. However, following an extension, it is now scheduled to end in May, 2017.

Public health officials are to receive further training this fiscal year in food safety and other related standards under the European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Capacity Building Project.

This is being done in a bid to increase awareness of international standards and technical requirements in the public sector, in relation to food safety as well as animal and plant health (phytosanitation).

A sum of $18.6 million has been allocated in the 2016/17 Estimates of Expenditure to undertake this and other activities under the project, which aims to facilitate increased production and more diversified exports of agricultural and agro-processed products to the European Union (EU) market.

Other anticipated physical targets for the period include:  funding the participation of officials in international fora (such as those organised by Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), World Organization for Animal Health, and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC); and provide training for specific assessments on animal and plant health issues, including pest risk assessments and animal disease surveillance.

It is also intended to promote sensitisation and  dialogue with the private sector on technical barriers to trade (TBT) and Sanitary PhytoSanitary (SPS) issues; and design, develop and implement various educational and  awareness programmes on SPS and TBT issues, in cooperation with meso-level organisations to help the private sector increase compliance and engagement in trade discussions.

Up to January, 2016 under the project, equipment had been procured for eight laboratories in four institutions (Bureau of Standards Jamaica, Veterinary Services Division and Bodles Research Station – Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Pesticides Research Laboratory – University of the West Indies).

This has resulted in the ISO 17025 Accreditation of three of the laboratories and pending ISO 17025 accreditation of two other laboratories. Also, the upgrading of the Plant Virology Laboratory at Bodles has been completed.

In addition, 15 persons participated in courses at international food training and regulatory institutions; 10 officers from several benefiting entities participated in international conferences/fora, such as Global Food Safety, Codex;  and five officers participated in study tours to the United States of America; and the private sector (Jamaica Manufacturers Association and Jamaica Exporters Association) undertook four study tours to CARICOM, Latin America, Canada, Guadeloupe and Martinique regarding TBT and SPS issues to share with their membership.

The project, which is being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), with funding from the EU, was originally slated to run from May, 2012 to May, 2015. However, following an extension, it is now scheduled to end in May, 2017.

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