KATHMANDU, May 4: Though the deadline for grace period to complete preparation for implementing the agreement signed with World Trade Organization (WTO) is about to end, Nepal still lacks internationally accredited food laboratory to facilitate exports of food commodities.
As per the agreement, Nepal must complete all necessary preparations, including changes in legal and infrastructure, by 2013 before entering the full-fledged multilateral trade regime.
“The lab capable of testing quality of goods as per the WTO standard is under construction. Hopefully, it will be operational by the end of 2012,” Dr Hari Dahal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC), told media persons on Wednesday.
United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has provided assistance to set up internationally accredited lab at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC).
Dahal also said Nepal has yet to declare enemy pest and disease free areas through Pest Risk Analysis (PRA). “We haven´t completed preparation for PRA due to lack of required human resources and budget,” he added.
The ministry, however, is already moving ahead with formulation of different guidelines on cleanness in dairy, hygienic practices in traditional food preparation and small and medium size hotels, Standard Operating Procedure for food inspection, enemy pest quarantine in apple, orange, ginger and potatoes, and meat processing, among others.
According to Dahal, the ministry has already declared Nepal free from rinderpest.
The ministry is also formulating and amending different policies on food safety and quality, feed, animal slaughter and animal health.
It has also opened veterinary standard and drug administration office, 15 crop quarantine offices, 29 animal quarantine check posts and quarantine labs in Tatopani, Kakarbhitta, Birgunj and Mahendranagar. It has also been imparting training on different aspects of quarantine technology that are expected to facilitate Nepal under multilateral trade regime.