FAO ends phyto-sanitary training

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation-Gambia (FAO) ended a 3 days training workshop for Phyto-sanitary inspectors and exporters at a hotel in Kololi.

The training targeted phyto-sanitary inspectors (from border posts, airport and seaport), exporters (commercial farms and agribusiness enterprises) and handlers (all those involve in the movement of agric commodities across borders) on sampling procedures, record-keeping and classification of high risk agricultural commodities.

Speaking on behalf of the FAO country representative, Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, FAO’s programmes staff, said that FAO’s assistance to the government of The Gambia is guided by FAO’s Country Programming Framework (CPF).

“The current CPF (2018 - 2021) streamlines its interventions to contribute towards the priority areas expressed by the government in its National Development Plan (2018 - 2021),” he said.

Dr. Ceesay further said that the training is organised through FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) on Integrated Pest Management on the white fly being implemented with the Plant Protection Services of the Department of Agriculture.

“This will contribute towards government priority areas highlighted in the NDP, such as: modernising agriculture and agribusiness (NDP Strategic Priority 3) and Human Capital Development (NDP Strategic Priority 4)” he lamented.

He described the training of phyto-sanitary inspectors, exporters and handlers on sampling procedures, record-keeping and classification of high risk agricultural commodities as very important in safeguarding the agricultural export market.

According to new European Union plant health regulations, Dr. Ceesay pointed out that imports will be prohibited unless risk assessment is conducted and permissibility to import crop commodities established.

“Where there is limited knowledge on pest profile and pest risks are unknown, or data is unavailable, temporary restriction or ban will be imposed” he said.

Director general, Department of Agriculture Mr Sariyang Jobarteh said inspectors have a crucial role to play in ensuring that alien insect pests are prevented from crossing their borders with unexpected planting materials and other commodities.

“Phyto-sanitary inspectors need to be more vigilant since exporters rely heavily on the services provided by the phyto-sanitary services,” he stressed.

He further thanked FAO for their continued support to the Ministry of Agriculture and urged the participants to make good use of the training and to share knowledge with their colleagues who were not present.

Principal plant protection officer, Department of Agriculture, Saja Konateh, described the training as timely and important since it is addressing various problems which are currently in the country such as the issue of the white flies and other pest which are affecting the agricultural industry.

On the issue on how to solve the flow of pest, he mentioned that there is a network that flows between the public and private partners. “We want to embark on integrated pest management which is an approach looking into a lot of methods and will be put together to address major problems confronting the agricultural industry.

Author: Fatou B. Cham