Friday, December 16 2016
Close to a 100 people gathered at Taumesina Resort on Wednesday 15th December, 2016, to witness six local companies attain international accreditation in HACCP certification, a significant tool for quality assurance and a platform of confidence and trust between exporters and importers.
Funded by the Australian and New Zealand Government aid programmes, the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) programme provided support for HACCP (Food Safety and Management Programme) training and the certification process at the request of the Samoa Association of Manufactures and Exporters Association (SAME).
SAME President Tagaloa Eddie Wilson welcomed officials and guests and emphasised the need to improve the quality of Samoan products as well as their competitiveness on the world market. When Samoa was at the cross-roads in accessing to WTO, the challenge from the government is for our export companies to improve their efficiency and be competitive with quality products in a globalised market.
Tagaloa said, “Since 2009 SAME have launched ISO 9000 with 24 companies now attaining this milestone in their operations. And in 2014 with the assistance of PHAMA we facilitated the HACCP certification programme which was launched by our Prime Minister. We are here today to witness six companies who have attained yet again this milestone. Both HACCP and ISO 9000 programmes are continuing with more companies expected to achieve international certification.”
Tagaloa acknowledged the contribution of the public private partnership of government, SAME, PHAMA, SROS and farmer groups in helping address challenges to the export value chain.
As a direct result of their achievement, the certified companies have already begun to receive an increase in demand for exports and new export pathways are expected to be established.
SAME is targeting export revenues to hit the $100 million tala mark by 2020.
Australian High Commissioner Her Excellency Sue Langford, also congratulated the six companies attaining HACCP certification. “The six companies are recognised by New Zealand and Australia, and open up to other export markets. The HACCP certification programme is central to farmers’ aims, to maintain existing markets and to build capacity to value-add Samoa’s primary produce. Most significantly this programme will help improve the national economy through income generation benefitting farmers, and especially women and young people.” In concluding, HC Langford says she wants to see continuing collaboration between SAME, PHAMA, government and other development partners to help improve the competitiveness of Samoan products on the world market.
Minister of Finance, Hon. Sili Epa Tuioti gave brief remarks representing the government side, pointing out the recently launched Samoa National Development Strategy (SNDS) 2017-2020 with an emphasis on accelerating sustainable development and economic opportunity for all. He noted of SAME also launching their Samoa Export Plan 2016-2017 – 2018/2020 and would like the two documents aligned to the same objectives and complementary. He noted the second key outcome of the SAME Export Plan which aims for agriculture and fisheries development to be sustained, which aligns well with the SNDS to re-invigorate agriculture.
Hon. Tuioti pointed out the agriculture sector hasn’t been performing well in past years, and thus needs to be properly re-formed to produce sufficient supplies of primary products needed by SAME companies for value-addition and for exports.
“Our farmers need to be incentivise to go out and plant more, there’s a strong demand for cocoa for the chocolate manufacturing, there’s a strong demand for taro, we don’t have enough taro, a strong demand for coconut based products, but not enough supply. So there’s a need for reforms to ensure enough supplies to meet the demand for an increasing export market.” He said government acknowledges the private sector as a key development partner and helping address economic development and for creating employment opportunities.
Hon. Minister added that the food and beverage companies with HACCP certification are now global players and must maintain competitiveness with a much more discerning consumer base.
He acknowledged SAME partner PHAMA, financially supported by the governments of New Zealand and Australia, for initiating HACCP certification with partial funding by the Government of Samoa, and SAME providing its own resources. HACCP certification is a very expensive process and companies themselves invest a lot of their own resources to attain this international recognition.
The SAME Export Plan targets local agriculture and is for everyone from farmers to store owners to business owners.
Ten other companies are along the way to HACCP certification.