Job Title: Assist in Liberia Codex policy formulation, implementation and capacity building.
Supervisor: Organizational Capacity-Building Manager
Duration: 14 Days from February-March 2017
CNFA is a US-based nonprofit nongovernmental organization (NGO) that works to stimulate economic growth and improve rural livelihoods in the developing world by empowering the private sector through five core capabilities: (1) Productivity, Food Security and Nutrition; (2) Input Supply and Farm Services; (3) Economic Resilience and Rapid Recovery; (4) Value Chain Development; and (5) Volunteer Technical Assistance. CNFA assists smallholders in increasing household-level food security and nutrition through improved agricultural practices, introduction of new varieties, diversification of crop production, food preservation and storage, development of farmer-based organizations (FBOs) and strengthened linkages to markets.
Program Description of LADA
LADA is a four-year project that aims to improve the agricultural development and food security initiatives at the community- and national-level in Liberia. The LADA project aims to strengthen “aggregation clusters” through facilitating business relationships that link, suppliers, producers, processors, buyers, and investors so that all actors along the value chain can benefit from sustainable growth. To achieve this vision, CNFA will provide its Co-Investment Fund (CIF) to finance quality inputs, mechanization, agricultural equipment, and markets so that Liberian smallholder farmers can increase their participation in the market.
LADA has launched a major new initiative to improve effectiveness of Liberia’s food safety standards. This action has been requested by the private sector so that imports can be substituted and exports of food products can be explored. Specifically, LADA will assist GoL and agro-processors in the development of food standards. Codex’s (Codex Alimentarius, Latin for “Food Code” is a collection of recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety. Representatives from various line ministries are participating, including the MoA, MoH, MoCI, EPA and the NSL. Stakeholders representing the value chains in the areas of fisheries, manufacturing, and vegetables have joined and concluded together that food standards are important in line with new food laws under ECOWAS, and the WTO agreement to ensuring future regional and international trade in Liberia.
A food safety policy provides a basis for the establishment of national food safety objectives and requirements, and guidance for application to specific sectors of the food continuum (production, processing, storage, transportation and marketing.
The process of developing food safety policies involves three interlocking stages:
A) Development of the policy, which includes the purpose of determining the need for policy development, drafting and promulgating the national food safety policy;
B) Implementing the policies;
C) Monitoring the performance and implementation of the policy. The aim of the policy formulation process should be to identify and recommend a policy for the long-term management and control of food safety that commands consumer confidence and ensures public health.
A consultant has been requested to assist Liberia in reviewing and/ or updating/formulating national food safety policies as well as develop and disseminate technical guidelines and tools related to policy formulation, implementation and capacity building.
The National Codex Committee (NCC) is responsible for synthesizing national positions and guiding national policies on food standards, food safety and international food trade issues. It is comprised of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Standards Laboratory. Placement of the National Codex Committee is revolving and has gone from Ministry of Health, to Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and next year will move to Ministry of Agriculture. Each transition has disrupted its progress and caused fragmentation. Effective food control is undermined by the existence of fragmented legislation, multiple jurisdictions, and weaknesses in surveillance, monitoring and enforcement. Multiple food control agencies suffer from serious drawbacks including:
• Lack of overall coordination at national level;
• Frequent confusion over jurisdiction and resultant inefficiencies in performance;
• Differences in levels of expertise and resources and hence uneven implementation;
• Conflict between public health objectives and facilitation of trade and industry;
• Limited capacity for appropriate scientific inputs in decision-making processes;
• Lack of coherence, leading to over-regulation or gaps in adequate regulatory activity;
• Reductions in the confidence of domestic consumers and foreign buyers in the credibility of the system.
When establishing a food control system, it is necessary to systematically examine all factors that may impinge upon the objectives and performance of the system, and develop a national strategy. strategy development, with stakeholders reaching consensus on objectives, priorities, policies, roles of different ministries/agencies, industry responsibilities, and timeframe for implementation. The profile should permit a review of health and socioeconomic issues impacting on foodborne hazards, consumers concerns, and the growth of industry and trade, as well as identification of the functions of all sectors which are directly and indirectly involved in ensuring food safety and quality and consumer protection. Liberia’s needs and opportunities need to be looked at in conjunction with the laboratory assessment that is being done by LADA, to determine what is the best collaborative effort that can be utilized to help in the production of safe food for the public with potential for export.
A most effective way to assess the status of food safety, food laws, and the application of Codex information in Liberia is to review the WHO/FAO Food Safety Needs Assessment Tool. This consists of the following 7-points:
1. Intersectoral coordination;
2. Food safety laws, regulations and policies;
3. Emergency preparedness and response;
4. Food disease surveillance and exposure monitoring;
5. Food safety implementation, product monitoring and inspection;
6. Risk communication and information;
7. Human and financial resources.
This approach will apply internationally accepted criteria to assess the situation in Liberia. To achieve successful outcomes the following is proposed:
Duration of assignment, 15 working days
DAY 1 Meet with key government, food industry and university people for both formal and informal discussions on the agenda and approach to the following 14 days of work
DAY 2 Day-long collective interaction with key GOVERNMENT officials from all relevant departments at the national and local levels dealing with food safety.
Morning session: SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
Input will come from Liberian officials; consultants will be facilitators. This result in an understanding of the current national status of food safety; good existing programs and improvements needed in weak areas
Afternoon session: WHO/FAO Food Safety Needs Assessment Tool (7-points, see above).
This session will take the outcomes of the SWOT Analysis and apply them to the WHO/FAO criteria. By the end of the day there should be a good overview of food safety in Liberia as seen by the relevant government agencies. The role of Codex Alimentarius information in relation to Liberia will be discussed/evaluated also.
DAY 3 Repeat the Day 2 format with key officials from the FOOD INDUSTRY, UNIVERSITIES and CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS
DAY 4 Consultant review and summarize the issues/outcomes from Day 2 and Day 3 deliberations. Draft effective short-term and long-term solutions/interventions
DAY 5 Meet in ONE session with all participants from government, food industry, universities and consumer organizations to get collective input on the current situation and future work on food safety
DAY 6 Consultant draft an outcome document
DAY 7 Consultant follow up with key GOVERNMENT participants — Fact checking, clarification, editing etc.
DAY 8 Consultant do similar interaction with key FOOD INDUSTRY personnel
DAY 9 Consultant do similar interaction with key UNIVERSITY and CONSUMER GROUPS
DAY 10 and 11 Consultant write up report
DAY 12 Consultant meet with LIBERIA’S CODEX CONTACT POINT. Discussions on current situation and future opportunities. This would include Liberia and the Codex Trust Fund
DAY 13 Presentation of report to key participants
DAY 14 Consultant meet to discuss possible future funding opportunities. This could include key food safety capacity building opportunities. This could include:
· Education of existing and future personnel in
o food safety,
o food inspection,
o utilization of Codex Alimentarius information and its application to Liberian situations
DAY 15 Open for:
· editing of documents,
· evaluation of the previous 14 days work,
· follow-up activities, etc.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Consultant will have the following duties and responsibilities:
1. Conduct activities in accordance with the above tasks.
2. Provide training services as outlined.
3. Provide a document with consensus from MoA, MoH, MoCI and LADA on the requirements for strengthening Codex in Liberia.
4. Provide recommendations on the next steps for the National Codex Committee and the National Laboratory.
5. Outbrief to the USAID Mission and LADA COP on results and next steps.
1. Write a final report detailing the results of the assignment, schedule, etc. (no more than 20 pages) detailing the achievements of the consultancy
2. Provide recommendations to LADA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, National Standards Laboratory and EPA on next steps
· A PhD in Nutrition, Food Law and Regulations, with a working knowledge of Codex including Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) guidelines and procedures and Food Control Authority.
· 5+ years of experience working within Africa with a USAID or other donor-funded project.
· Knowledge with FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius, International Food Laws and Regulations.
· Fluency in English, with excellent verbal and written communications skills and strong facilitation skills
Timeline and Location: Duties to be conducted in Monrovia from late February to late March 2017.