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UNECE standards help Namibia export grapes to Europe

Last December, for the first time ever, containers with grapes left the port of Lüderitz, Namibia, bound for Europe - and they all complied with the quality requirements set out in UNECE’s agricultural standards. Checked by the recently established Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) under the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the grapes were the first agricultural produce exported directly from Namibia to the European Union. While such shipments are everyday business for neighbouring and highly successful fruit exporter South Africa, for arid Namibia with erratic rainfall and dry spells, exporting to Europe and being able to meet and inspect marketing and quality requirements was a huge step forward.

With a population of 2.4 million, about two thirds of whom depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, Namibia is currently exploring how to support exports of other agricultural produce as well as introducing quality parameters for local produce and imports from other African countries. This will have legal and technical implications and entail an extensive training component to build a recognized inspection body.

It was against this background that a high-level delegation from AMTA led by Namibia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva held consultations with UNECE on 8 February 2016.  UNECE offers a unique set of standards and international best practice adaptable to local and regional conditions, and an inclusive standard development process open to all UN Member States. In addition, UNECE has extensive experience in assisting inspection services and capacity building as well as electronic certificates for agricultural trade. The delegation from Namibia was strongly interested in UNECE’s international best practice, and its relevance to their country’s efforts to promote trade, sustainable development and food security.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/trade/agr/welcome.html