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WB to Help Improve Food Safety in China

CnDG, May 14, 2010 Adjust font size:

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors Friday approved a loan of US$100 million to the People's Republic of China to support the government's efforts to enhance food safety and meet increasing demand for higher quality and safer food by the Chinese population.

The Government of China has made food safety a top priority in recent years and is taking clear actions to upgrade their food safety system. It passed the Law on Agricultural Product Quality and Safety in 2006 and the Law on Food Safety in 2009. The Jilin Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Project is part of the national efforts to upgrade food safety infrastructure, procedures and enforcement capacity to implement these new national laws.

Jilin Province in northeast China is a major agricultural producer and supplier of agricultural products to other parts of China. The project aims to help Jilin Province improve its agricultural product quality and reduce agricultural product safety risks. This will be achieved through introducing good agricultural practices, improving the implementation of agricultural product safety related regulations, and strengthening the agricultural product safety monitoring system.

Specifically, the project will assist in the development of new standards for good agricultural practices. These new standards include both legal minimum standards and detailed recommendations for farmers on the best agricultural practices available ranging from appropriate cultivation practices, pesticide use, integrated pest management, post harvest practices, animal husbandry practices, aquaculture production practices, to the appropriate use of veterinary medicines. To increase the adoption of standardized good agricultural practices, matching grants will be provided to farmer groups or agricultural product processors to set up 200 to 300 demonstration sites that use improved agricultural practices to produce safer agricultural products.

The project will also finance the upgrading of the agricultural product safety and quality testing, management, monitoring, and enforcement system in agricultural, livestock and aquaculture. The establishment of a risk-based agricultural product safety monitoring system will be piloted. A number of laboratories for testing pesticide and veterinary product residues will be constructed or rehabilitated.

In addition, the project will seek to increase the level of knowledge on agricultural product safety and quality through financing applied research, training and public education. Under the project a public awareness campaign will be carried out through television, radio and newspapers outlets to promote agricultural product safety among farmers and the general public. Eligible private enterprises or farmers associations will receive small loans from the project to develop and demonstrate models for integrating small-scale farmers into high quality, high value and safe agricultural product chains.

"The Jilin Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Project provides an ideal platform to test new approaches to implementing agricultural product safety," said Iain G. Shuker, World Bank Task Manager for this project. "Once these approaches have been tested and proven successful, they can be rolled out to other provinces in China."

The US$100 million loan from the World Bank will finance 70 percent of the total project investment. This is the first food safety project that the World Bank has supported in China. It is the largest food safety project ever financed by the World Bank. The Bank's study entitled "China's compliance with Food Safety Requirements for Fruits and Vegetables" in 2006 and policy note entitled "Food Safety in China" in 2008 laid the groundwork for the development of this project.

(China Development Gateway May 14, 2010)

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