By Ndey Sowe
The Gambia Standards Bureau on Wednesday 12th June 2019, held an inaugural meeting of the Technical Committee (TC), for the development of bread standards for the country, at National Nutrition Agency’s (NaNA) conference hall in Kanifing.
According to officials, the committee was constituted following a request from the Ministry of Trade to the Bureau, as the specialized Government agency responsible for the promulgation of standards for goods and services; that the Ministry has begun the process of preparing a technical regulation in response to the problems that different bread value chain actors have been encountering in recent times. The meeting was told that as a result of these problems, bread was added to the list of essential commodities, bringing about the Ministry’s resolve to tackle the problems head on.
In order to implement the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, concerning bread, Officials of the Bureau said the Ministry will develop technical regulations which will be based on standards in line with good regulatory practice; that members of the TC were drawn from key stakeholders of the bread value chain particularly representatives of bakeries from the regions, technical experts on bread, flour mill representatives, bakery associations, Government, regulatory bodies and consumer associations.
The officials further indicated that the objective of the meeting is to identify and develop specific standards on bread, identify those experts with knowledge and experience in bread making to constitute the Task Force for the development of the draft standards. “The Bureau will train the members of the Technical Committee on standards development procedure,” the officials noted.
Papa Secka, the Director General of the Bureau reiterated their role in facilitating the sustainable development agenda of the country through the development of standards for all sectors.
He said the Bureau will provide services to assure quality through conformance to relevant standards such as inspection, testing, certification and calibration of bread. He highlighted the policy of the Bureau as a demand-driven standardization strategy for the effective use of resources and the timely response to the needs of society. He summarized the procedure for the development of standards as something that should be in accordance with ISO and IEC procedure and the WTO code of practice. This he said, stipulates that the principles of good standardization practice should be adhered to and stakeholders must have the opportunity to contribute in order to come up with a truly consensus-based standard.
He thanked the Ministry for fully financing the project and assured them of the production of a robust and responsive standard that will meet the needs and expectation of all interested parties.
Fabba Jammeh, deputizing the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, said bread is one of the most sensitive foods in the country; that it is important as a Ministry to give attention to bread standards for the citizens of the country. “We want to sensitize the markets so that consumers will be well catered for,” he said.
He applauded the Standards Bureau for their work and commitment towards the development of bread standards for the country.