CABI provides technical expertise to help implement the Plant Health Strategy for Africa

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Participants who attended a workshop to develop the Implementation Plan for the AU Plant Health Strategy in Lusaka, Zambia (Credit: CABI).
Participants who attended a workshop to develop the Implementation Plan for the AU Plant Health Strategy in Lusaka, Zambia (Credit: CABI).

CABI is providing technical expertise to help the Inter-African Phytosanitary Council of the African Union (AU-IAPSC) implement the Plant Health Strategy for Africa with the ultimate aim of increasing the food security of the continent.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), CABI’s regional centre for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, is working with the AU-IAPSC to roll out the strategy which will address inadequate and apply better sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in Africa.

Ultimately, the 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 provide technical expertise to assist the AU-IAPSC in implementing their Plant Health Strategy which will be presented to the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) who will review and approve the strategy.

Once approved, an implementation plan will be designed and will guide the adoption of the Plant Health Strategy.

CABI’s technical and organizational support to the AU-IAPSC and the African Union Department of Agriculture Rural Development Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (AU-DARBE) will then help to implement the African Union Plant Health Strategy and its associated activities.

These include supporting the AU-IAPSC to expand Member States’ understanding of existing phytosanitary best practices such as risk-based official controls in operations (inspections and certification), derived from Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), surveillance and other measures for market access.

The work will also see the finalization of the AU-IAPSC pesticide and biopesticide regulatory guidelines and the development and validation of protocols for the field testing and registration of safer-to-use and more environmentally-friendly biological control agents.

Dr MaryLucy Oronje, Project Manager and Scientists – SPS, said, “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.”

So far, a study on pesticide and biopesticide regulatory guidelines and the development and validation of protocols for field testing and registration in AU Member States has been carried out.

Furthermore, phytosanitary capacity building for AU Member States and an assessment of the adoption of Electronic Phytosanitary Certificates in AU Member States are also underway.

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