#2 MAY 2022

Building Food Safety Capacity in the CARIFORUM Fisheries Sector for Improved Market Access and Trade

Private Sector Case Studies - Guyana and Suriname

A limitation to increasing the trade of fish and fishery products in CARIFORUM countries is the narrow capacity in the sector to respond to international health and sanitary requirements. The SPS Measures Project activity “Technical Assistance to Build Food Safety Capacity for the Fisheries Sector” provides support to Private Sector entities for the implementation of regionally coordinated health and food safety guidelines, which were previously developed by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat under the 10th EDF SPS Measures Project. The Guidelines promote SPS Compliance, through building food safety capacity for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

This activity was executed by the expert food safety fisheries firm, Megapesca Lda of Portugal. To initiate this activity, an open call was made to all fishery and aquaculture operations in the region to express interest in receiving technical assistance and capacity building services in sanitary controls. Following an evaluation of the applications received, two firms were selected to receive tailored capacity building programmes: Tibu Impex (Guyana) and Ocean Delight (Suriname). Technical assistance provided over an 8 month period (June-Dec 2021) to these firms included: design, delivery and monitoring of training curriculum, materials and programme; review of current Quality Management Systems; planning and design of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and traceability plans; planning for development of HACCP plans for selected species/products identified as export priority; and translation, where required. Here we profile the beneficiary companies and their feedback on the support provided.

Tibu Impex Inc. - Guyana

Tibu Impex Inc is a small wholesale and retail business in Guyana which re-packages and processes a variety of fresh and frozen seafood including shrimp, red snapper, butter fish, crabmeat, and shark among others. They also produce smoked fish. From their processing plant in Georgetown, they supply several hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets, and cater to walk-in customers at their retail outlet.

Renita Joseph, Managing Director, Tibu Impex Inc reflected on her rise in business, “I started off as a small fish processing company, at that time I did not have any knowledge about food safety systems. I had to learn along the way. We do not have a training facility for staff, and many persons start off in this industry like me with no knowledge about these issues.” Joseph stated that the training provided by the 11th EDF SPS Measures Project has increased her confidence as well as that of her team, “We are now putting these food safety best practices into practice. In fact, our annual health inspection is coming up and with this training I am excited to show them what we have learnt and the improvements that we have made thus far.”

All eight members of the Tibu Impex Inc. team were trained on Food Safety, HACCP guidelines and Traceability. “With the high rotation of staff in this industry, sustainability of the programme was very important to us. I am now trained as a trainer, and I also have access to electronic recordings of the training to share with new team members and to conduct refresher programmes as needed,” Joseph added.

As a past exporter, Joseph hopes that the training will help her to re-enter export markets as she is now producing a higher quality, safer product, “I hope that this training will give us an advantage and make us more competitive in the international market. We used to export to the United States (US) and parts of the Caribbean however due to the COVID-19 pandemic those efforts fell back. With this new training I am considering opening an outlet in the US, exporting my own brand and using my own packaging.”

High in praise of the trainers, Joseph said that she was particularly impressed with the teaching methodology, “A big challenge in training in the fishing industry is the ability to break down academic concepts so that all levels of staff will understand. The trainers were able to accomplish this. As small fisheries, we don’t often get access to these types of activities, especially training. I was very lucky to access this, and it will make a difference in the future of our operations.”

Ocean Delight Suriname N.V.

Established in August 2019, Ocean Delight is a relatively new company which produces fresh and frozen fish products from more than 100 species caught in the Atlantic Ocean. At their processing plant in Suriname, they export to the nearby Caribbean as well as European and Asian markets. According to Britney Kasmiran, Quality Assurance Manager, Ocean Delight N.V., the technical assistance provided through the 11th EDF SPS Measures Project came at a critical juncture in the firm’s expansion, “We are delighted to have received this assistance for all the necessary steps required to meet the different food safety standards.”

Kasmiran indicated that their firm was experiencing two key challenges, “The first challenge was that our food safety plans weren’t approved at the time. So, we set up a meeting with the Competent Authority and the project consultant, to review our proposed plan. The Authority agreed to the recommendations put forward and the plan is now approved. Our other challenge was how to train our staff from across several different countries and languages such as Asia, Cuba, Guyana, Haiti, and the Philippines.” Megapesca Lda coordinated several food safety standards training sessions in the required languages as well as a “Train the Trainers” programme for key members of the HAACP team. Ocean Delight’s new team of trainers went on to train all its production staff ensuring sustainability of the programme.

In the process of expanding its operations, Ocean Delight wants to add a more advanced production plant to pursue Surimi processing. Kasmiran shared that they also requested assistance with this project for the provision of a general guidance plan which they can use in the future. “A lot of potential clients ask if we are certified, and this is also something we intend to pursue in the future. Megapesca Lda helped us to firstly complete a gap analysis and then they developed an action plan for implementation of ISO 22000. This was extremely helpful,” she said. “If we implement this new ISO certification process, this will certainly lead to more clients and increase our potential to access new export markets. It is important that our brand maintains a reputation for good food safety implementation.”



Administrative Complex

Processing Facilities

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