Kathmandu, June 24
A survey report compiled by Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Centre (NABIC) has revealed the need for awareness education and training on food safety management system for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of western Nepal.
The survey titled ‘Need for Quality Infrastructure Services among Food Processing Industries in Western Nepal’ was conducted by NABIC under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Centre for Agriculture Infrastructure Development and Mechanisation Promotion.
The study was conducted among 75 SMEs from Province 5 and Karnali Province. Of them, only seven SMEs were found to have implemented quality management system (QMS) in their businesses.
QMS includes policies, legal procedures required for planning and execution of the business, as stated in the report.
The report further mentioned that among the participating SMEs, only 32 were aware about the rules and regulations regarding standardisation of food quality.
Meanwhile, more than 50 per cent of SMEs pointed at the need for training, testing, monitoring and promotional programmes along with policy awareness programmes.
“As per the survey report, it is clear that there is a demand of food safety awareness programmes in the market, which we have to carry out for the sake of public health and business promotion,” said Jiwan Prava Lama, senior food technology advisor at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC).
The survey was conducted under the supervision of Lama.
The report has also recommended conducting awareness programmes for the enterprises as well as consumers.
Raj Kumar Rijal, senior food research officer at DoFTQC, agreed on the need of QMS awareness programmes not only for SMEs but for consumers as well.
“Indeed, there is a lack of food safety in our country.
However, the situation has been created by two kinds of people — those who are unaware about it and those who ignore it,” he said.
As per Rijal, the DoFTQC receives quality complaints mostly in milk, water, meat, fish, oil, bakery items and other junk foods. “We are doing our best to monitor wrong practices of substandard food being supplied in the market,” he said. “There are lots of legal and practical challenges in overcoming the issue of food safety in our country.”
A version of this article appears in print on June 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.