The mobile food-testing laboratory was handed to the Balochistan Food Authority (BFA)
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Riina Kionka handed over the keys
It will help support the implementation of food safety standards
QUETTA: European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Riina Kionka on Wednesday handed over keys to a mobile food-testing laboratory to the Balochistan Food Authority (BFA).
This was part of the Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project, funded by the European Union, and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
Provincial Minister for Food Engineer Zmarak Khan, Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Secretary Food Ayaz Mandokhel, and officials from the Balochistan Food Authority attended the event.
Speaking at the ceremony, the EU envoy said she is pleased to hand over the first mobile laboratory testing facility to the Balochistan Food Authority.
“This is a milestone to be celebrated and the starting point of the future commitment of the Balochistan Government to improving food safety not only in the province, but Pakistan as a whole.”
Food Minister Zmarak Khan thanked the EU’s support to the provincial government and recognized the investment made through GRASP, which is working closely with the government which is not only supporting Balochistan SMEs in horticulture and agriculture, but also enhancing the capacity of government institutions through targeted trainings.
Chief Secretary Balochistan Abdul Aziz Uqaili appreciated the support EU has provided to the province. He stressed on the close partnership and continued support to provide a safe and healthy environment for SMEs, especially in rural areas to become competitive with the national and global markets.
🇪🇺 EU is privileged to hand over the first mobile laboratory testing facility to the Balochistan Food Authority. This will hopefully contribute towards improving food safety not only in the Province, but 🇵🇰 as a whole. pic.twitter.com/ry41vb78rM
In 2020, GRASP conducted an assessment of the food authorities of Sindh and Balochistan, and identified the need to provide mobile food testing facilities to both provinces to help support the implementation of food safety standards and overall quality assurance of food items being supplied to markets.
As part of its duties, the van will also be used to check for food contamination to ensure that processed foods are free from undeclared ingredients, are accurately labeled, and compliant with relevant food safety standards and rules.
Equipped with a suite of testing technology, along with its crew of technicians, the van will provide expert on-the-spot scientific expertise to help support both consumer confidence and public health.
BFA officials have also been trained on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) compliance issues in relation to requirement for wider market access, including towards potential international exports, in addition to supporting and reviewing regulatory and operational frameworks for strengthening and operational capacity of the authority.
GRASP is also working for poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth through development of rural small and medium-sized enterprises in select districts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan.
The project’s outcome aims to enhance the productivity and profitability of SMEs involved in primary production, service provision, and value addition in and around selected clusters of production.
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