EU supports Nepal to standardise products, meet international requirements for export
Kathmandu, Mar 8: EU Ambassador to Nepal, Veronica Cody, handed over the ownership of equipment worth over €1.2 Million (Equivalent to Rs 154 Million) to the Nepal Bureau of Standards & Metrology (NBSM) and the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) on Thursday.
The equipment was provided under the EU Funded 'Trade and Private Sector Development (TPSD) Project', which started in September 2014 and runs until June of this year. It includes a range of state of the art laboratory testing and inspection equipment for, inter alia, food products. Monitoring of taxi meters and ensuring the safety of gas cylinders used throughout the country for cooking, read a press release issued by the EU on Thursday.
"The equipment and technical assistance provided will help the Nepali government and private sector to ensure standards for food safety and security as well as standardising measurements and calibration of other key products and services. This will raise domestic demand for products, as consumers are assured of quality and safety, and also allow Nepal to meet the standards required for export to the international market, thus contributing to increasing its trade and boosting the economy. The European Union would like to see Nepal draw greater benefit from the EU's Everything But Arms trade regime. This regime, the most favourable of its kind in the EU, allows Nepal to export everything except arms to the EU on a tariff free and quota free basis," Ambassador Cody said during the handing over ceremony.
Director General at the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, Bishwoo Babu Pudasani, thanked EU for the equipment and assured the Ambassador that they would be used to the optimum level to increase consumers' confidence and promote Nepal's international trade.
New equipment was also donated to DFTQC which will contribute to strengthen consumer protection by enhancing the DFTQC’S capacity as the Food Safety and Food Quality regulator to test food products for chemical or microbiological contamination and ensure that unsafe food is not marketed within the home country and abroad.
The EU intervention will in turn build NBSM’s capacity to monitor compliance of products with measurement standards and national standards (which include provisions to protect the health and safety of consumers) as part of its market surveillance and legal metrology inspection activities.
The equipment will enable both DFTQC’s National Food and Feed Reference Laboratory (NFFRL) and NBSM’s Chemical, Microbiological and Physical laboratories to extend their scope of accreditation and offer an increased range of laboratory testing to international standards to producers and exporters to facilitate continual improvement in product and process quality across the range of sectors prioritised in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2016.Speaking at DFTQC, Ambassador Cody said that the technical assistance along with the equipment provided by the EU to ensure food safety will help promote the value chain of food products and also scale up nutrition standards. The safety of food is also vital to the growth and transformation of agriculture needed to feed a more prosperous world population, the modernization of national food systems, and a country’s favourable integration into regional and international markets, the EU in its press release.
Director General of DFTQC, Sanjeev Karna said the equipment and training opportunities for its officials made possible through EU support will increase the potential for the export of Nepali products and scale up Nepal's economy.
He further said that this would increase confidence among consumers & buyers in the quality Nepal’s food and non-food products.
It will help strengthen the quality environment for the production of food and non-food products in Nepal, increase domestic demand, reduce the risk of export market entry, strengthen the environment for domestic and foreign direct investment and increase the potential to export with the parallel reduction in the trade deficit, the press release cited Karna as saying.