A federal draft bill aimed at introducing quality controls for the country’s agro-food sector has been postponed by four weeks due to duplications. It was to be presented at a workshop on Monday.
Stakeholders and international partners from across the country gathered at a private hotel and discussed the need to pass the National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Authority Bill which aims to put in place an integrated system of official controls at the federal and provincial levels to boost exports. The draft bill which was supposed to be presented by June 18, has been postponed till July 15.
The objective of the workshop was to present the draft, which will provide a national framework for quality control to stakeholders, if ratified by Parliament.
The bill recommends setting up a new federal body, the National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority which would be answerable to the Cabinet Division.
Pakistani products suffer immensely and there have been several cases of high-level rejection at destination due to non-compliance with international quality requirements, said an official. The current legislation and institutional framework for official controls of food safety and animal and plant health are inadequate to address a wide variety of challenges faced by Pakistan’s agro-food sector, he said.
If the bill is passed, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Control System will be implemented by the government to assure that products conform with international benchmarks.
Officials from Punjab said some points in the bill had been implemented at the provincial level and the duplication needed revision.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research in collaboration with UNIDO.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.
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