Synthesis Documents

SADC Private Standards Workshop, 2008

    Wednesday, 5 November, 2008 to Thursday, 6 November, 2008
    Event location: George Hotel, Pretoria

    Over the past 20 years, an increasing trend towards the concentration and globalisation of the food retail sector has become apparent. The occurrence of several highly publicised food scares and the requirement that producers take responsibility for the safety of their products have created an incentive for the development of private standards, resulting in an increase in the number and type of these standards. The result is that all exporters to these markets are currently required to comply with a plethora of official import requirements as well as private standards.

    Given the importance of agriculture to poverty reduction in the Southern African region and to give meaning to the "voice" of Southern Africa in this debate, there is a need to discuss private agrifood standards at the national and regional level.

    The intention of this workshop was to bring together implementers, regulators and industry and give participants the opportunity to discuss, offer feedback and understand:

    - The nature and scope of private standards
    - The differences (if any) between the processes by which private and official standards are set
    - The certification requirements for private standards, the role of accreditation bodies in the region and the implications for producers
    - Costs/benefits/challenges/experiences of producers
    - The WTO/SPS Agreement and its legal obligations
    - Current debates at the international standard-setting bodies and the WTO/SPS - Committee on the matter of private standards
    - The challenges facing governments in balancing the two - maintaining official systems and creating an enabling environment for market access/trade.