The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) today launched a free public customized joint online application of the Global Markets Programme. It is designed to bolster the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized agribusinesses, enabling them to better access global markets and contribute to food safety.

This free public tool serves as a first entry point for food manufacturers to learn and adhere to best food safety practices, generate diagnostic profiles directly online and be able to share those with business partners and auditing organizations.

It provides a real time snapshot of their current arrangements against the requirements of the Global Markets Programme.

Smaller business owners can also look at other standards for sustainability and food safety within the ITC Standards Map; which provides comprehensive and comparative information on over 170 sustainability standards and codes of conduct. The goal is to strengthen the capacity of producers, exporters, policy makers and buyers to participate in more sustainable production and trade.

The new GFSI web portal embedded within the ITC Standards Map provides a link to the GFSI website, which provides free access documents including the Checklist, the Protocol and the Training and Competency Framework.

This new tool will help private companies to collaborate on food safety with the UN, civil society and other stakeholders. It complements existing initiatives that advance food safety in food and agriculture sectors.

The GFSI Global Markets Programme sets out how smaller food companies can meet the challenge of food safety, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains and working towards market access through certification to one of the 10 GFSI-recognised schemes. It provides an unaccredited entry point for small- and medium-sized agribusinesses with its step-by-step programme designed to build capacity within production and manufacturing operations, and implement a course of continuous improvement. GFSI and ITC Standards Map are a natural fit and working towards similar goals.

Therefore, ITC Head of Trade for Sustainable Development Programme Joseph Wozniak and GFSI Board of directors agreed that ITC would leverage its Standards Map tool and Trade for Sustainable Development platform to disseminate the GFSI Global Markets Programme globally. GFSI has facilitated the development of the Global Markets Programme through an inclusive multi-stakeholder process including a number of businesses, UN agencies and civil society organizations involved in agriculture, nutrition and food systems.

“ITC plays a critical role in enabling SME competitiveness locally and globally”, says Véronique Discours-Buhot, GFSI director at The Consumer Goods Forum. “We are pleased to partner with them to leverage the GFSI Global Markets Programme through the ITC Standards Map, and support small- and medium-sized agribusinesses on a pathway to certification, market access and safer food worldwide.”

Joseph Wozniak, head of ITC’s Trade for Sustainable Development Programme, notes: “The Global Food Safety Initiative Global Markets Programme is the essence of how responsible agribusiness should operate and successfully access international supply chains.”