BVC, June 2016 - page 11

Business View Caribbean - June 2016 11
porters already tapping into markets controlled by
the European Union (EU) -- a tough market to access
because of stringent standards that require coun-
tries have systems in place to ensure that their ex-
ports are not only safe for consumption but also free
from harmful pests and pathogens.
In the case of Belize, which has traditionally export-
ed shrimp to the EU, it is moving to export conch to
that market for the first time, according to Endhir
Sosa, Senior Food Safety Inspector of Belize.
Sosa was among the 18 professionals from CARI-
FORUM who recently received management train-
ing on sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) in
Iceland. The training was offered under the capacity-
building component of an EU-sponsored project to
implement SPS Measures under the 10th European
Development Fund (EDF) regime. The Inter-Amer-
ican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism
(CRFM) are collaborating to implement the fisheries
component of the project.
Sosa broke down the meaning of this very technical
term – SPS - which could just as well be the acronym
for “safe and profitable seafood.” “In a nutshell, it’s
just a series of procedures, of guidelines, of require-
ments, that one needs to implement to basically
prove that what they are producing is safe,” the food
safety expert commented. “Confidence is what is
key! It is what everybody seeks when it comes to
the purchase and consumption of food products,” he
said, adding, “SPS is one of those routes where you
can establish that confidence in your product.”
Sosa noted, “Once you have an established SPS
system in place and it is vetted and it’s shown to be
functional, that will open markets locally, regionally,
and internationally. “When BAHA (the Belize Agricul-
tural Health Authority) first started in 2000, you could
count the number of countries we were exporting
to on your hand. It wasn’t more than five to seven.
Today, thanks to SPS, thanks to the confidence that
our SPS program has put into our products, not only
fish, the markets have increased almost three-fold.
Now we have a little over 30 markets,” he said.
Chairman of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, Den-
zil Roberts, who is also the Chief Fisheries Officer
in Guyana, noted: “The fisheries sector within the
CARIFORUM region continues to play an important
role in rural development, food and nutrition security,
income generation, and foreign exchange earnings.
However, it must be recognized that there is a pau-
city of skilled personnel within the region to further
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