AFRICA – The Inter-African Phytosanitary Council of the African Union (AU-IAPSC) and CABI’s regional center for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, are collaborating to implement the Plant Health Strategy for Africa, which will address insufficient and implement better sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in the continent.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the ultimate aim is to create robust plant health systems which will bring about reduced risks from devastating crop pests and diseases, increased trade, and the protection of biodiversity.

In this project, CABI will offer technical assistance to help the AU-IAPSC put its plant health strategy into practice. The strategy will be presented to the Specialized Technical Committee (STC), which will examine it and give it a thumbs up or down.

Following approval, a strategy for implementing the Plant Health Strategy will be created to serve as guidance.

The African Union Plant Health Strategy and its related activities will thereafter be put into action with the aid of CABI’s technical and administrative assistance to the AU-IAPSC and the African Union Department of Agriculture Rural Development Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (AU-DARBE).

Among them is aiding the AU-IAPSC in increasing Member States’ knowledge of current phytosanitary best practices, such as risk-based official controls in operations (inspections and certification), resulting from Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), surveillance, and other measures for market access.

Additionally, the AU-IAPSC regulatory criteria for pesticides and biopesticides will be finalized through this study, along with protocols for the field testing and registration of biological control agents that are safer to use and more ecologically friendly will be developed and validated.

“There is currently a lack of clear national and regional coordination frameworks of National Plant Protection Organizations which are underfunded and unequipped to implement international standards. 

“This includes insufficient scientific and research capacity to address and apply sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Indeed, these are essential for effective food value chains and greater national food security but also more profitable export markets for fresh fruit and vegetable produce,” Dr. MaryLucy Oronje, Project Manager and Scientists – SPS, said.

The development and validation of methods for field testing and registration in AU Member States, along with a study on regulatory guidelines for pesticides and biopesticides, have all been completed thus far.

A study on the use of Electronic Phytosanitary Certificates in AU Member States is also in progress, as is the development of phytosanitary capability for AU Member States.

Kenya recently became the first African country to adopt an e-certification system with backing from the Netherlands.

The ePhyto platform is anticipated to decrease the cost experienced by exporters with physical documentation as well as the time it takes for the document to be transmitted from Kenya to the Netherlands and other markets.

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