UNIDO delivers expertise to support TGSB’s Certification Body
By Sulayman Waan
Within the framework of West Africa Competitiveness Programme – The Gambia (WACOMP-GM), funded by the European Union, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has begun delivery of technical assistance aimed at accrediting the Certification Body (CB) of The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB).
The process started two weeks ago with an online Gap Analysis of the CB against the requirements for a CB to certify enterprises in HACCP-based food safety systems.
This was followed by working sessions held on the documentation of the CB by UNIDO international expert in certification and staff of the CB.
From last Friday till the last week in December 2023, a set of trainings are being dispensed at Senegambia Beach Hotel in Bijilo by UNIDO International Expert in Certification to individuals involved in the HACCP certification activities of the CB.
The training is being delivered by Mr. Mohamed Mahmoud Abdelhamid Haggag, UNIDO International Expert on Conformity Assessment.
The accreditation of the Certification Body to deliver HACCP certification is meant to facilitate the acquisition of certification by Gambian food business operators. When the CB is accredited and delivers HACCP certification to any FBO, this certification is recognised throughout the world.
Food products of a HACCP certified enterprises have a very high likelihood to be safe based on the premise that they have been produced under conditions and practices that ensure food safety hazards are eliminated or controlled to acceptable levels. Thus, there is confidence that food products being produced by the HACCP certified enterprise is safe.
“One of the two areas that is covered by the CB is what is called Certification of Food Safety Management System Standards (HACCP and ISO 22000). To achieve this objective, the most important element is to build the capacity of our Staff to be competent to effectively implement all the applicable requirements so that we’ll successfully obtain accreditation.” Mr. Papa Secka, the Director General of TGSB.
These series of training courses, he added, are designed to ensure adequate understanding and qualifications of the persons assigned by the CB to play a role in the certification activities. Hence, their importance to The Gambia is the realisation of an internationally recognised Certification Body with adequately qualified persons to perform the required activities.
“My expectations are that TGSB Staff would be competent enough to take the Certification Body to the next level of achieving accreditation and begin to certify enterprises exporting food products. There will be adequate Auditors within and outside of the Bureau who are fully competent and have internationally recognised certificates to deliver audits for all the levels of Food Safety Standards.”
Mr. Secka thus called on enterprises in the agricultural value chain to approach the Bureau so that they can work and support them in addressing challenges related to food safety Standards and export requirements.
Mr. Joseph Ndenn, National Technical Coordinator of UNIDO WACOMP-GM, said those trainings are specifically aimed at equipping the persons involved in the certification of food enterprise to HACCP with the requisite knowledge and skills.
“These trainings are critical for TGSB in its aim to establish a credible Certification Body.”
For WACOMP Gambia, he added that it means the provision of vital support for the country to have an internationally recognised CB, positioned to deliver accessible food safety certification services to food businesses in the country.
Mr. Ndenn expressed optimism that with the hard work and determination of the trainees and trainer, The Gambia can boast of an accredited CB in six months’ time.