"Regional Webinar on Commercial Quality Assurance of Walnuts" was organized recently in order to improve the commercial quality of export-oriented food products in Central Asia, as well as to promote sustainable development of local communities in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The walnut production sector in the region, along with fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, is mainly export-oriented and therefore has the potential to overcome partially many socio-economic problems of local communities.
A number of international organizations have joined efforts to promote UNECE standards for the marketing and commercial quality control of agricultural products, which cover examples of generally accepted minimum requirements widely used in international trade of agricultural products. For example, the standard for walnut kernels is applied by leading producers, wholesalers and retailers in Europe, the USA or Asia in commercial operations as well as by the relevant government quality control authorities.
Considering the importance of improving the sector within the larger regional economic system, the practical webinar considered many issues that play a key role in improving the current situation. This includes understanding and implementing the standard’s requirements in production practices, marketing and sales. Some participants in walnut kernel value chains have already been applying the standard’s requirements for several years.
To strengthen capacity-building in this area the "Central Asian Working Group for the Promotion of Agricultural Exports from Central Asia" (http://ca-wg.net/) – CAWG- has been established several years ago as a regional platform to discuss and agree on measures to ensure compliance of agricultural products with UNECE standards on marketing and commercial quality control. This webinar was also proposed by CAWG participants at one of the meetings, and conducted by international experts from France, Italy, Moldova, USA, UNECE, UNDP, GIZ and Hilfswerk International.
This webinar was organized by the "CANDY V" consortium led by the Austrian internationally active organization Hilfswerk International in the framework of the European Union funded project "Central Asia - Invest V", GIZ programme "Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction through community-based management of walnut forests and pastures", and the UNDP Regional Project "Aid for Trade for Central Asia" (funded by the Government of Finland) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The latter has supported the development, revision and use of standards in international food trade in the Central Asian region for many years. The national standards bodies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as industrial associations of processors, producers and exporters of agricultural products, are contributing to overcome these tasks.
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