<p><strong>Farming</strong> is the primary source of food and revenues for Africans and provides up to 60% of all jobs in the continent. Food production in sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60% over the nest 15 years to feed a growing population. Africa’s food and beverage markets are expected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030.</p>
<p>The African continent is bursting with potential. At 200 million hectares sub-Saharan nations are home to almost 50% of the world’s uncultivated land that can be brought into production. However, a number of resources are underutilized. In addition, African farmers need high-yielding technologies alongside infrastructure to access lucrative markets. Also there is a need for sound policies that do not discriminate against the farm while providing opportunities for exports.</p>
<p>When agricultural companies decide to internationalize their business, either at regional or global level norms, regulation and standards are of paramount importance. Also the lack of quality infrastructure severely hinders trade of agricultural goods of African origin.</p>
<p>The increasing demands of consumers and civil society have driven retailers to pay attention not only to the safety and quality of food, but to its origin as well. They are increasingly taking greater notice of labour practices, the environment, safety in the workplace and social responsibility. Until recently, these issues tended to be the reserve of public and international agencies or NGOs. Under pressure from consumers, though, the private sector seems to be assuming greater responsibility in this area.</p>
The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) formulated ARSO DISNET in order to respond to the post millennium technological advancement in the exchange of information and was Approved for re-establishment by the 47th ARSO Council.
ARSO's Documentation and Information Systems Network (ARSO DISNET) promotes the collection, dissemination and use of information on national and regional standards, technical regulations and related measures in Africa, in support of ARSO's principle mandate; “…to reduce tech-nical barriers to trade and therefore promote intra- Afri-can and international trade as well as enhance the indus-trialization of Africa. It has been established to be a “one-stop-shop” source of comprehensive information on standards-related measures meant to play a critical role in shaping the flow of international trade.
Broadly speaking, standards-related measures are docu-ments and procedures that set out specific technical or other requirements for products or processes as well as procedures to ensure that these requirements are met. Among other things standards-related measures help:
- Ensure the connectivity and compatibility of inputs sourced in different markets;
- Eanage the flow of product-relate d information through complex and increasingly global supply chains;
- Organize manufacturing or other production processes around replicable routines and procedures
- Achieve important regulatory and societal objectives, such as ensuring product safety, preventing deceptive practices, and protecting the environment; and promote more environmentally-sound or socially-conscious production methods.