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Enhancing the Role of Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises in Prepared Food Trade in AANZFTA

24 October 2019

Indonesia, 22-24 October 2019 - Businesses and officials representing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), food-regulatory agencies and standards development bodies from ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand convened in Jakarta to exchange information about the current country regulatory systems in prepared food industry and discuss a proposed capacity development programme on international prepared food standards for MSMEs in the AANZFTA region. This programme in the making aims at increasing regional and in-country practical knowledge and skills in the prepared food sector for MSMEs, MSME enablers and relevant government officials - which in turn can contribute to greater participation of MSMEs in regional value chains and gaining international market access.

In her remarks, Ms Destry Anna Sari, Director of Marketing, Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs of Indonesia, Chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) stressed the importance of capacitating the MSMEs in taking advantage of opportunities presented through the AANZFTA and eventually towards contributing to achieving ASEAN integration.

AANZFTA as a region is the net exporter of prepared foodstuff. There are opportunities for MSMEs to play a greater role in the region’s value chain and contribute more to prepared food exports and imports. At this workshop, MSME enablers and industry regulators exchanged views and information about the food control management systems and regulatory frameworks currently in place in each AANZFTA Party as well as about the importance of food safety and adherence to standards and regulations across the value chain. The workshop participants also deliberated on the findings of a needs assessment study that unveils the challenges faced by MSMEs in 12 AANZFTA Parties and their capacity-building needs related to international market access in terms of compliance to food safety, food standards and technical requirements. Against this background, the participants further discussed the design of the proposed capacity development program for MSMEs and MSME enablers, related training materials and national implementation work plans.

"Acknowledging that MSMEs playing an important role in economic growth in most AMS, it would be important for MSMEs to improve their capacities and competencies to allow them to participate in the global market, including capacities to hurdle challenges related to standards and conformity assessment. The collaboration between relevant agencies involved in this activity provides opportunity to enhance the capacity of AMS to support MSMEs in improving awareness on food safety and understanding law and regulations related to food safety for international trade", added Ms. Aderina Uli Panggabean, Deputy Director of International Compliance for Standards and Conformity Assessments, National Standardization Agency of Indonesia, representing ASEAN Co-Chair of AANZFTA SC-STRACAP.

The workshop participants also leveraged this opportunity to learn, through case studies, on capacity building programmes implemented and internationalisation support provided by national agencies in the ASEAN Member States;  as well as the successful internationalization of MSMEs that have exported to regional and international markets. i). An overview of the efforts and challenges in harmonising Food Safety Standards in the region was also highlighted.

This workshop was organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, in collaboration with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs (ACCMSME) and AANZFTA Sub-Committee on Standards, Technical Regulation and Conformity Assessment Procedures (AANZFTA SC-STRACAP), as part of 'Capacity Building Programme for MSMEs on International Prepared Food Standards' Project supported by the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme.

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