COMOROS – Africa’s regional economic organization, COMESA has partnered with the European Union (EU) to support the development of an efficient national Sanitary and Phytosanitary System (SPS) for Comoros with €3.2m (US$3.8m) funding.
According to COMESA, the support has been provided to the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment (INRAPE), through its Adjustment Fund (CAF) under the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) programme.
Its aim is to address the regulatory deficit within the national sanitary and phytosanitary system and further ensure food safety and quality control within the country.
In addition, it will guarantee the control of the processing, packaging, storage, handling or distribution of food and feed products going to the local market, imports and exports.
Activities under this initiative includes rehabilitation and equipping of the premises of INRAPE and the SPS Information Exchange with IT equipment.
Also, there will be facilitation of consultations to improve the local SPS regulations and introduction of new legal texts in the sector to align with international protocols.
The regulations have been developed through Ministerial and Presidential decrees and are currently awaiting Parliamentary approval.
These are expected to constitute the main references in Agri-food and plant protection in Comoros.
According to the project’s progress report, the application of the laws will require the organization and coordination of national institutions responsible for certification and official controls which will protect the Comoros national market.
In addition, over 35 phytosanitary inspectors have been trained on the islands of Anjouan and Moheli in anticipation of the application of the proposed legislation on foodstuffs and other priority texts related to phytosanitary law.
According to FAO, Comoros is a net importer of food products accounting to about 70% of its food, and the import rate of some foods, such as poultry, is as high as 90 percent.
The United Nation organization has further highlighted that half of the population (about 500 people), do not have enough to eat, and malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the world.
Development of the sanitary and phytosanitary system will protect the Comoros national food market.
AGRA, ACTESA partner to improve regional seed trade
Meanwhile, COMESA’s specialised Seed Agency ACTESA is working collaboratively with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to developed Regional Seed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to improve regional seed trade in staple food crops.
This is in addition to audit checklist mechanism for maize trade, provided for under the COMESA Seed Harmonisation Implementation Plan (COMSHIP).
The initiative is part of the implementation of the AGRA-COMESA cooperation framework titled “Improved Regional Seed Trade in COMESA region”.
It is aimed at improving regional seed trade in maize, rice, soyabeans and rice as a way of catalysing and sustaining an inclusive agricultural transformation.
The draft SOPs formed the basis for developing the COMSHIP Regional Audit Checklist covering among others, conduct of distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) tests, conduct of variety maintenance/ check plot observations, variety release and catalogue and authorization of private seed inspectors and entities (licensing and registration of seed inspectors, samplers and analysts).
Others are requirements and process of seed crop field inspection, seed crop intake verification, inspection and sampling, pest control testing of seed lots, handling quarantine pests, moisture determination and germination analysis.
Ultimately, the provision of adequate information and higher levels of transparency to all seed stakeholders is critical in ensuring that the time and cost of trade is reduced and thus, increasing efficiency in cross border regional movement of seed.
Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE