National Assembly Members yesterday considered and ratified the International
Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Tabling the motion before lawmakers, the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Ismaila Sanyang, said the IPPC is a legally-binding international treaty relating to plant health.
It was adopted by the conference of FAO to secure common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of trans-boundary pests of plants (including weeds) and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control.
The convention generally applies to anything that could be a vector for pests of plants such as exported plant products/material, conveyances, containers, soil, tourism and research materials, he said.
Minister Sanyang further stated that the implementation of the Convention is primarily a national obligation of contracting parties’ common action identified in the convention concerning international standard setting, mandatory information exchange, dispute settlement and technical assistance.
The IPPC is one of the three international standard setting bodies recognised by the World Trade Organization agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitacy measures (SPS agreement), he added.
The convention created a governing body consisting of each party, known at the Commission on Phytosanitacy measures, which oversees the implementation of the convention.
Minister Sanyang further told lawmakers that the primary objective of the IPPC is to regulate the movement, and the international trade of plants and plant products that may act as a pathway or vector for the introduction of plant pests, including invasive weed species.
IPPC, therefore, plays an important role in protecting farmers from economically devastating pests and diseases outbreaks, and the environment from the loss of species diversity, he stated.
The benefits of the IPPC to The Gambia includes technical assistance, and support to developing countries in capacity building activities, aimed at assisting those contracting parties who do not have sufficient capacity to implement an effective quarantine system, nor do they have the ability to ensure that their shipments meet the import requirement of potential trading partners.
The National Assembly Member for Kombo South, Hon. Abdou Colley, who seconded the motion, said the Convention is straightforward and none controversial.
He stated that pests’ infections could be “very disastrous for countries like The Gambia which are already faced with lot of them”.
He said pests are capable of destroying agricultural products, and that The Gambia collaborates with other international organizations and countries all over to ensure they have common goals and ideas on how to control pests.
The National Assembly Member for Niamina West Hon. Lamin Jadama, in his remarks, said “it is only the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia that are yet to ratify the convention”.
He said the reverse task by the FAO convention was stated on 6 November 1997, and he agreed with the Minister and the seconder of the motion because it was very clear that the convention which, he noted, is divided into 27 articles, “is very comprehensive and clear”.