Enhancing Food Safety From Farm to Fork

Women harvesting maize in field

Enhancing Food Safety From Farm to Fork

 

Born and raised in Morocco, Farah Varisco has a deep interest in unlocking Africa’s potential. Motivated by her desire to help others and use her skills for good, Farah, an analyst at The J.M. Smucker Co., signed up to support a risk assessment project with PFS client Seba Foods in Zambia. “In my day job as an analyst at Smucker, I can get really focused on my challenge at hand and forget about everything else that is going on around me,” said Farah. “Even being from modernized Africa, it can be a challenge to get the basics to people so I am glad I have this opportunity to help others and hopefully make their lives better.”

Seba Foods is an agro-food processing company specializing in the processing of maize and soya beans for more than 25 years. Seba works with its own network of registered smallholder farmers who supply the raw materials and supplement the crop requirements to produce a range of products including soya pieces, breakfast porridge, and corn soya blend (CSB).

“Zambia has its own unique challenges when it comes to threats and vulnerabilities so we’re in the process of gathering as much data as we can on their food safety and quality systems,” said Farah. “I typically do the analysis of our systems at Smucker and make sure we’re financially secure and sound. I’ve gone through quite a bit of a learning curve on this project since the country and products are completely new to me, but risk is risk and I am excited to be contributing toward improving food safety in Zambia.”

Although this project is not yet finished, the Seba Foods team has already learned a lot. “I’ve developed some good foundational knowledge around the creation and implementation of a risk assessment that we initially lacked,” said Teza Chika, quality assurance manager at Seba Foods. “A lot of information about how to go about it has been shared, to which some has already been implemented, but we are still developing the system to make it effective.”

The Seba Foods team said they’re grateful to have this opportunity to collaborate with PFS volunteers like Farah. “[The volunteers] serve as extra resources that infuse our work with the necessary experience, skill, and expertise that our institution may lack from time to time,” said Teza. “They bring about new ideas from their experiences that help our systems evolve to be more effective and we look forward to meeting with them every other week to learn more.”