New inspection and certification facility aims to boost fish trade in Africa

WorldFish and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will today launch the COMESA Fish Inspection and Certification Facility in Luangwa, Zambia on the Zambia-Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.

The facility, which was built by WorldFish through the European Union-funded FishTrade project (‘Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty through Intra-Regional Fish Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa’), is the result of WorldFish research that identified challenges impeding cross-border trade. These included lengthy customs and bureaucratic formalities at border posts and a lack of harmonized regional fish standards and conformity assessments.

As part of the project, which falls under the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems and is implemented in partnership with the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency , WorldFish trained and registered two cross-border fish traders associations, made up of 16 women and 19 men, who will co-manage the facility with the Government of Zambia.

COMESA, an economic bloc of 21 countries, will install equipment for testing the quality and safety of fish products crossing the border. Certification will take place according to the regional harmonized fish standards facilitated by WorldFish and approved by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in March 2017.

The standards cover 11 products and areas, including fresh, frozen, farmed, salted and smoked fish, fish snacks, fish sausages, canned sardines and Good Aquaculture Practices for bream fish. At least three SADC countries have already adopted the standards in their national policies.

Sloans Chimatiro, Country Director Zambia and Tanzania, WorldFish: “Data we gathered at various border posts in the four trade corridors of Southern, Eastern, Central and West Africa showed that intra-regional informal fish trade is a significant entrepreneurial activity throughout the continent. However, it remains largely invisible to…