Zambia Daily Mail
COMESA tackles maize trade
30 December 2015
By Tryness Mbale-Tembo, Lusaka
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has launched a roadmap that will address differences in standards and regulations that hinder regional trade in maize.
The resolutions of COMESA Mutual Recognition Framework (C-MRF), which aims at providing equivalence of analytical results and recognition of certificates of analysis, were issued by the laboratories of the participating countries.
In a statement availed to the Daily Mail by COMESA head of corporate communications Mwangi Gakunga recently, the C-MRF was developed by the COMESA Secretariat in partnership with six countries with significant maize trade.
The participating countries are Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“Intra-COMESA trade in grains is set to rise following the launch of a roadmap that will address differences in standards and regulations that impede regional trade in maize,” Mr Gakunga said.
C-MRF is anticipated to eliminate the need for multiple testing by both the exporting and importing country.Key components of the framework are common grading criteria, proficiency testing for Aflatoxin analysis and a risk-based sampling protocol.
Commenting on the development, COMESA director of agriculture and industry Thierry Mutombo Kalonji said lack of mutual recognition of technical standards and conformity assessment is a persistent non-tariff barrier.
“COMESA Secretariat initiated the framework in recognition of the fact that regulatory barriers are sometimes a result of varied technical capacities in the public and private sector entities across the region.
“Without mutual recognition, regulatory barriers persist, causing an unpredictable regulatory environment that comes at a high cost to traders ,” Mr Kalonji said.