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AANZFTA empowers MSMEs in international food industry for greater market access

15 November 2021

JAKARTA, 15 November 2021 –The ‘Specialised Sessions to Learn the Experiences of Australia and New Zealand on Capacity Building to Implement Food Safety Management System’ workshop took place on 8–11 November, online.

The four-day workshop gathered around 100 delegates representing government officials; regulatory and export promotion agencies; and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) enablers; in the prepared food industry within the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).

In her opening remarks, Dato’ Suriani binti Dato’ Ahmad, Chair of ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) and Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives highlighted that MSMEs’ contribution to exports and participation in international trade has been limited due to skill gaps and lack of information on market access, trade and food regulations.

“Bringing together SME agencies, food standard regulatory agencies, export promotion agencies, and business development service providers in this workshop and future activities would lead to more integrated efforts towards advancing the food export promotion programmes in ASEAN,” she added.

At the workshop, participants learned about food safety regulatory models and their implementation in Australia and New Zealand through two learning sessions. Through group discussions, they also learned how Australia, New Zealand and other countries support MSMEs. Notably through their capacity building in implementing international food safety management systems, such as good hygiene practices, good manufacturing practices (GMP), and hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP).

The workshop was the ‘Capacity Building Programme for MSMEs on International Prepared Food Standards – Phase II’ project’s first activity, supported by the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP).

The project seeks to equip MSMEs, MSMEs enablers, and regulators in the international food industry, particularly the processed or prepared foods sector, with technical knowledge to provide capacity-building and advisory services to MSMEs in the AANZFTA region. It also aims to help MSMEs comply with regional and international standards of food safety products and quality standard requirements, gain better market access, and further participate in the global value chain.

The capacity-building workshop followed up on one of the recommendations from a need assessment study conducted in 2019, identifying that ASEAN Member States could learn from Australia and New Zealand’s experiences and advanced capacity in their Technical Food Safety training, capacity building programme, and its implementation related to hygiene, GMP, and HACCP.

The AANZFTA Sub-Committees on Standards, Technical Regulation and Conformity Assessment Procedures and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures have implemented the project since September 2021, in collaboration with the ACCMSME, ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality – Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group, ASEAN Secretariat, and the AANZFTA Support Unit. AsureQuality, a consultant team, provided technical expertise to support the implementation of the cross-sectoral project.

For more information on the project or the AECSP, please contact the AANZFTA Support Unit at Subscribe to receive email notices when new content is published on the AANZFTA website.

For more information on MSME development in ASEAN, please visit here.


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