Introduction

Introduction: 

The farming, livestock and fishing industries are vital for the ACP countries. Food exports help increase their incomes and improve their trade balance and the EU plays an important role as an outlet for their production.

Helping local producers to develop their export activities serves to improve their economic and social situation and, consequently to fight against poverty. However, when seeking access to the European market, they face increasingly stringent rules in terms of food safety, a consequence of the serious food crises that have hit various sectors of European agriculture over the past few years.

Moreover, European consumers are increasingly aware of food safety issues and expect the institutions to set up regulatory provisions that guarantee them the best protection for their health, and are demanding that professional operators demonstrate the compliance of their practices. Europe’s major distribution chains are adopting communication strategies designed to reassure their customers about the safety and professionalism of their supply chain and requiring their suppliers to guarantee the traceability and compliance of their products with food safety laws.

The upgrading of the food safety control systems in the ACP States therefore aims, on the one hand, to restore the confidence of the major European distributors in their products, thus ensuring the viability of their exports and, on the other hand, to supply safe food products to local and regional consumers.