The Fisheries Administration (FiA) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) recently presented Cambodia Quality Seal (CQS) certificates to eight post-harvest fisheries enterprises that have demonstrated compliance with the rigorous requirements of the scheme.

In a press release, UNIDO explained that the certificates aim to enhance the safety and quality of fish and related products in post-harvest fisheries, fostering sustainable and inclusive growth within the industry.

The certification process applies to various actors within the fisheries value chain, including processing enterprises, fishing vessels and collection centres, like wharves and wholesalers. By prioritising food safety, the scheme aims to bolster consumer confidence and promote Cambodia’s national brand.

“The initial round of eight CQS certifications were awarded to post-harvest fishery enterprises that have demonstrated compliance with the rigorous requirements of the scheme. These enterprises are Leang Leng, Ny Ieng Neng, Samnang Sothea, Home Taste Food, Phnom Pich Bunkhea Fish Sauce, Thoeurn Sreyny, Vong Dara Processing, and Heng Hort (Sok Khim) Processing,” it said.

“By aligning with the theme of World Food Safety Day 2023, ‘Food Standards Save Lives’, the CQS certification scheme is set to enhance the competitiveness of Cambodia’s fish and fisheries products, facilitating international trade and safeguarding public health,” added Chan Sopha, director-general of the Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC).

“With the CQS certification in place, Cambodia is making significant strides towards becoming a champion of food safety compliance and sustainable fishing practices, benefitting local consumers and international trade,” he continued.

Has Sareth, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, lauded the EU-funded project’s impact on promoting food safety and expanding export opportunities.

“The scheme has been developed as part of the government’s efforts to promote safe food for everyone and enhance access to export markets. I am optimistic that more CQS logos will soon be displayed on fish and fisheries products in Cambodian minimarts and supermarkets,” he said.

Pum Sitha, director-general of the FiA, said that to ensure trust and integrity of the CQS certification system, the FiA and UNIDO – with technical assistance from Peterson Projects and Solutions Consulting – have established transparent and comprehensive regulations, guidelines and related documents. Officials from the FiA and other state institutions have undergone training, and are qualified to audit the CQS

“In addition to the current support, enterprises whose products have potential as export products to the EU will be selected through the establishment of monitoring systems and documents related to food safety standards. This will allow them to prepare for inspection and evaluation by the EU’s General Department of Food Health and Safety in early 2024,” he added.

Bryan Fornari, head of cooperation of the EU delegation to Cambodia, said that working with the government and the private sector to ensure higher standards of products, especially in terms of food safety, opens new business opportunities and creates decent jobs in the food industry.

He added that it also ensured protection from potential health risks for consumers.

“The EU CAPFISH programme continues to work with the agricultural ministry to improve food safety compliance so fisheries products can be gradually exported from Cambodia to the EU and other international markets,” he explained.

“We are delighted to see the first concrete results of this work through the development of the CQS scheme,” he said.