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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul 30, (CRFM) – The Caribbean region's ability to cash in on a potentially lucrative, international export trade in fish and seafood is being held back by huge gaps in measures to protect food safety and animal health, experts say.

But the experts, who are investigating food handling policies in CARIFORUM countries, are set to propose a new regime for sanitary and phytosanitary – SPS – measures in CARIFORUM states.

Since starting their work in April, Jamaican SPS expert Dr. George Grant, international legal consultant Chris Hedley of the United Kingdom and experts from the renown Icelandic food safety agency, Matis Ltd., have discovered that in most instances compliance with globally established standards are voluntary – a worrisome development they say that stops member states from tapping into
niche markets overseas and boosting foreign exchange earnings.

There are also either no legally binding protocols managing food safety throughout the region or where they are practised they are disorganised and informal, say the experts.

"It's the prerogative of the government, or the official, competent authority to develop a system whereby the food safety measures can be validated, inspected and can be regulated," Dr Grant says.

In two months of national consultations on SPS measures sponsored by the European Union in a number of CARIFORUM nations, Dr. Grant said there are no documented and transparent protocols for ensuring safe food handling and monitoring food processes.

Several Caribbean nations are yet to include these standards in their national regulatory system, something that has long been mandatory in many of the developed nations to which regional fisheries and food industries might seek to export.

But the CRFM supported by a team of Seafood safety experts, veterinary expert and lawyer is developing a region-wide set of food safety and environmental safeguards which they hope to unveil for adoption in late August.

"The set of protocols we are developing is to have them formally presented and documented so that countries can use them as guides to developing their own particular protocols and practices," Dr. Grant says.

As they travelled through Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states and the Dominican Republic which make up the CARIFORUM group of nations, the team assessed benchmarks for food safety in individual countries.

The news of the progress towards SPS compliance is encouraging. The experts note that most fish processors have implemented the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) standard for fish and fish product exports.

But as the Caribbean fishing industry and food makers seek to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to gain access to markets in European Union, there is an extra layer of requirements based on official controls.

The EU is requiring that exporting nations put enforceable legislation in place in each country to govern the SPS standards.

Through an EU-funded project, implemented by the CRFM and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), the team is hoping to establish a uniformed set of procedures across the industry.

"The question of where to draw the level in terms of how strictly you regulate food
safety is really very much a national policy decision," Hedley says.

He cautioned that the process can be complicated, costly and potentially counter- productive: "We don't want to over-regulate and sort of crack a nut with a sledgehammer, if there are not substantial food safety problems.

"The more you regulate food safety and the stricter and more you demand in terms of that side of regulation, the more expensive products become, the less people are able to meet those requirements and they may be forced out of the business."

The aim, the legal expert says, is to step up protection measures, level the playing field, manage the risks involved in food protection and facilitate trade across the Caribbean and internationally.

"There is no end point to that, it's not like there is a single target we're going to aim for and then that's it - we can rest on our laurels. New challenges [are] arising all the time. It is a continual process of improvement," Hedley adds.

Yet, compliance is critical to the effectiveness of the new standards.

"[The EU] want to make sure that the legislation is properly in place in the country, that these requirements are not just voluntary but with specific legal requirements to implement these food safety procedures and that there are penalties in terms of not complying with them. So the businesses that don't comply with them can be taken out of the licensing process."

SPS legislation will need to be backed up by a system of government checks, controls and monitoring systems, says the SPS legal expert.

As the two-man legal team sifted through the paperwork – or lack of it – among Caribbean fisheries processors and exporters, another team of environmental monitors has been travelling the region, inspecting processing plants, cold storage facilities, testing laboratories and aquaculture facilities.

But the experts are anxious that the drive towards SPS compliance is not seen solely as jumping necessary hoops in the export trade. Hedley suggests that even if the region becomes compliant there is still no guarantee there would be an appetite for their goods in the EU. For Grant, another, often overlooked beneficiary is the Caribbean consumer who can rely more safely on wholesome food from the sea.

Fisheries managers, officials, scientists are expected to meet in Barbados on August
24 and 25 to pore over technical documents the SPS experts will produce, and their recommendations.

Hedley describes it as tool kit or resource paper which can be taken forward.

"This is a technical assistance project providing technical documents; actually they have to be developed in the real world politics and law and national sovereignty and go through the proper processes at the national levels and at the regional levels."

 

Published in Press release

Information to Vendors

1. Introduction

1.1 Vendors are invited to submit a Technical and a Financial Proposal, for services required for the development and maintenance of a website for the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA). The proposal will be the basis for a contract with the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency.

1.2 The assignment shall be implemented in accordance with the scope outlined in the Terms of Reference. Please note that: (i) the costs of preparing the proposals are not reimbursable as a direct cost of the assignment; and (ii) CAHFSA is not bound to accept any of the proposals submitted.

1.3 CAHFSA’s policy requires that vendors provide professional, objective, impartial advice and at all times hold CAHFSA’s interests paramount, without any consideration for future work, and strictly avoid conflicts with other assignments or their own corporate interests. Vendors shall not be hired for any assignment that would be in conflict with their prior or current obligations to other clients, or that may place them in a position of not being able to carry out the assignment in the best interest of CAHFSA.

2. Preparation of Technical and Financial Proposals

2.1 Vendors are requested to submit two separate proposals using Standard English – a Technical Proposal and a Financial Proposal.

2.2 In preparing the Proposals, vendors are expected to examine the information constituting this Expression of Interest (EOI) in detail. Material deficiencies in providing the information requested may result in rejection of a proposal.

2.3 While preparing the Technical and Financial Proposals, vendors must give particular attention to the following:

(i) If a vendor considers that it does not have all the expertise for the assignment, it may obtain a full range of expertise by associating with individual vendors(s) and/or other firms or entities in a joint venture or sub-consultancy, as appropriate.

2.4 The Technical Proposal shall provide the following information:

(i) A brief description of the vendor’s recent experience on comparable assignments

(ii) A detailed description of services and work plan/schedule for performing the assignment

(iii) Recent CVs of principal/key staff member (s)

(iv) A detailed description of the proposed methodology

2.5 The Financial Proposal should list all costs associated with the assignment. If appropriate, these costs should be broken down by activity.

3. Submission, Receipt, and Opening of Proposals

3.1 The completed Technical and Financial Proposals must be sent as PDF files via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copied to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , with the subject heading of “Website Development and Maintenance - CAHFSA”. The deadline for receipt is 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Caribbean Time) on Friday 15th May, 2015. Submissions will not be considered unless all the elements identified above are received by the stipulated deadline.

4. Proposal Evaluation

4.1 An evaluation team will evaluate the proposals on the basis of their responsiveness to the Terms of Reference.

4.2 After the evaluation of quality is completed, CAHFSA shall notify those vendors whose proposals did not meet the minimum qualifying mark or were considered non-responsive to the EOI and Terms of Reference.

4.3 The successful vendor selected will undertake discussions with a team from CAHFSA pertaining to the Technical and Financial Proposals and the proposed methodology (work plan).

5. Award of Contract

5.1 The contract will be awarded following discussions.

5.2 The vendor is expected to commence the assignment on the date specified in the schedule.

6. Confidentiality

6.1 Information relating to evaluation of proposals and recommendations concerning awards shall not be disclosed to the vendors who submitted the proposals or to other persons not officially concerned with the process, until the successful vendor has been notified that it has been awarded the contract.

 

Kindly see attachment for more information about this call for expression of interest: Website Development and Maintenance of the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA)

Published in EU - EPA SPS Project

Information to Vendors

1. Introduction

1.1 Vendors are invited to submit a Technical and a Financial Proposal, for services required for the development and maintenance of a website for the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Project. The proposal will be the basis for a contract with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

1.2 The assignment shall be implemented in accordance with the scope outlined in the Terms of Reference. Please note that: (i) the costs of preparing the proposals are not reimbursable as a direct cost of the assignment; and (ii) IICA is not bound to accept any of the proposals submitted.

1.3 IICA’s policy requires that vendors provide professional, objective, impartial advice and at all times, hold IICA’s interests paramount without any consideration for future work, and strictly avoid conflicts with other assignments or their own corporate interests. Vendors shall not be hired for any assignment that would be in conflict with their prior or current obligations to other clients, or that may place them in a position of not being able to carry out the assignment in the best interest of IICA.

2. Preparation of Technical and Financial Proposals

2.1 Vendors are requested to submit two separate proposals using Standard English – a Technical Proposal and a Financial Proposal.

2.2 In preparing the Proposals, vendors are expected to examine the information constituting this Expression of Interest (EOI) in detail. Material deficiencies in providing the information requested may result in rejection of a proposal.

2.3 While preparing the Technical and Financial Proposals, vendors must give particular attention to the following:

(i) If a vendor considers that it does not have all the expertise for the assignment, it may obtain a full range of expertise by associating with individual vendor (s) and/or other firms or entities in a joint venture or sub-consultancy, as appropriate.

2.4 The Technical Proposal shall provide the following information:

(i) A brief description of the vendor’s recent experience on comparable assignments

(ii) A detailed description of services and work plan/schedule for performing the assignment

(iii) Recent CVs of principal/key staff member (s)

(iv) A detailed description of the proposed methodology

2.5 The Financial Proposal should list all costs associated with the assignment. If appropriate, these costs should be broken down by activity.

3. Submission, Receipt, and Opening of Proposals

3.1 The completed Technical and Financial Proposals must be sent as PDF files via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copied to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; with the subject heading of “Website Development and Maintenance - 10th EDF SPS Measures Project”. The deadline for receipt is 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Caribbean Time) on Friday 15th May, 2015. Submissions will not be considered unless all the elements identified above are received by the stipulated deadline.

4. Proposal Evaluation

4.1 A team will evaluate the proposals on the basis of their responsiveness to the Terms of Reference.

4.2 After the evaluation of quality is completed, IICA shall notify those vendors whose proposals did not meet the minimum qualifying criteria or were considered non-responsive to the EOI and Terms of Reference.

4.3 The successful vendor selected will undertake discussions with the SPS Project team, pertaining to the Technical and Financial Proposals and the proposed methodology (work plan).

5. Award of Contract

5.1 The contract will be awarded following discussions.

5.2 The vendor is expected to commence the assignment on the date specified in the schedule.

6. Confidentiality

6.1 Information relating to evaluation of proposals and recommendations concerning awards shall not be disclosed to the vendors who submitted the proposals or to other persons not officially concerned with the process, until the successful vendor has been notified that it has been awarded the contract.

 

Kindly see attachment for more information about this call for expression of interest: Website Development and Maintenance of the 10th EDF Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Project

Published in EU - EPA SPS Project

To feed a man - THE CASE FOR A STRONGER FISHERIES SECTOR

  

A popular proverb tells us that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; but if you teach that man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime!  For thousands of years, seafood has been respected all over the world as a good way for people to feed their families and also put some money into their pockets. In fact, fish is the food product that is sold most in international markets, with tropical shrimp being among the most valuable fishery commodity. Today, although activities related to fisheries continue to provide an important source of employment and export revenue to many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, there has been rising concern over food security as well as the safe handling of seafood products. Food security refers to a country’s ability to produce enough wholesome and nutritious foods to supply to all its’ people, at all times.

 In response to these concerns and challenges, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is making efforts to develop effective food safety systems that will provide better ways of handling seafood products; and that would guarantee a brighter future for the fisheries sector. the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Programme is a big step in the right direction.

 

Published in EU - EPA SPS Project
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 15:34

SPS Project Document

Date  Author  Title
2017 Dr. Andre Gordon Accessing International Markets - Challenges & Opportunities from a Caribbean Perspective (Presentation prepared for 10th EDF SPS Project - Final Conference and Symposium, 23 February 2017, Barbados)
2017 Basil Mathioudakis Overview of EU Food Regulations and Imported Requirements (Presentation)
2017 Brian Bedard An Overview - Market Requirements (presentation)
2017 Ian Goulding Cost  Benefit Analysis & Impact of Compliance and Non-compliance with Sanitary and Phytosanitary requirement for CARIFORUM Countries - (Presentation)
2017 Ian McDonnel The Impact of Private Standard on CARIFORUM Countries - Final Report (Presentation)
 2017 IICA  Cost  Benefit Analysis & Impact of Compliance and Non-compliance with Sanitary and Phytosanitary requirement for CARIFORUM Countries - Final Report
 2017  IICA Pest Management Operators Training Manual
2017 IICA  Study on Impact of Private Standards on CARIFORUM Countries - Final Report
 2017 IICA  WTO Agreement on the Application of SPS Measures (Flyer)
2017 IICA Agricultural Health & Foo Safety (AHFS) (Flyer)
2017 IICA  SPS Infographic
 2017 IICA  Final Technical Report - Capacity Building of regulatory and industry stakeholders in Aquaculture and Fisheries Health and Food Safety to meet the SPS requirements of international trade
 2016 CRFM  Report of the Training Course on SPS in Fisheries and Aquaculture
 2016 CRFM  Extension of Deadline - Call for Expression of Interest (EOI): Capacity Building of stakeholders in Aquaculture &Fisheries Health and Food Safety for international trade
 2016  CRFM Extension of Deadline - Call for Expression of Interest (EOI): Call for Expression of Interest (EOI): Support to promote adoption of comprehensive legislation for health & food safety of fisheries & aquaculture in the Caribbean
2015 CRFM Final Technical Report - Tecnical Support to develop National and Regional environmental monitoring programmes related to SPS for fishery and aquaculture products in CARIFORUM States. CRFM Technical and Advisory Document 2015 / 06.
2015 CRFM  Final Technical Report - Technical Support to develop model legislation, protocols, guidelines for health and food safety related to fisheries and aquaculture in CARIFORUM States. CRFM Technica l and Advisory Document 2015/07.
 2015 CRFM  Report of the Regional Validation Workshop for the Fisheries Component of the 10th EDF Sanitary and Phytosantitary Measures project. CRFM Technical and and Advisory Document 2015 / 8.
2015 CRFM CRFM SPS Legislative and Environmental Monitoring Media CoverageCRFM Administrative Report.
2015 CRFM CRFM Feature: Caribbean Fishing Industry moves to close food safety gaps, expand markets
2015 CRFM SPS Fact Sheet # 2
2015 CRFM How to Handle... Safe Seafood Standards
2014 CRFM
SPS Programme : Positioning CARIFORUM to Fish Where the Big Fish Are
2013 CRFM SPS Project Document- Description of the Action
Published in EU - EPA SPS Project
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