Plant Health Strategy for Africa implementation under review
AU-IAPSC has this week brought together African member states and key players & partners in the plant health sector to jointly review, revise and validate the draft implementation plan for the Plant Health Strategy for Africa.
The Plant Health Strategy was developed to achieve a vibrant, robust and practical plant health system for Africa to improve food safety, food and nutrition security, improved livelihoods and trade.
The meeting taking place in Lusaka- Zambia has drawn together member states from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Somalia, Burundi, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Madagascar, Bukina Faso, Chad, Cameroon and the host Zambia.
Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other development partners include East African Community (EAC), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) and CropLifeAfrica.
Opening the meeting, AU-IAPSC Coordinator Dr Saliou Niassy stressed that the meeting was key in ensuring the effective implementation of the strategy, which seeks to enhance productivity and trade and strengthen regional collaboration for smoother agricultural trade between African nations.
“In that line, the objectives of the strategy directly speaks to the needs of the Agricultural sector which is vital, supporting livelihoods and ensuring food availability; it’s a major employer in Africa, providing jobs for about 60-70% of the population and a crucial source of livelihood for many, especially in rural areas,” he said.
Concurring with Niassy, Director of the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of Zambia Dr Kenn Msiska asserted that the strategy was a critical component in providing sustainable solutions to the continent, hence the meeting offers a great opportunity to unpack what can jointly work for all member states and various stakeholders.
“This world is faced with the enormous challenge of pest introduction and spread and it is just right that Africa as a continent, has something to guide its concerted efforts of controlling and managing pests of
economic importance” he said.
At the meeting, presentations, discussions, deliberations and group work are unpacking some key approaches that remain key including coordination mechanisms to ensure that the strategy is implemented efficiently and effectively in all member states.