Contributed by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI Switzerland
For the first time since 2000, the World Trade Organisation hosted an international workshop on developments in pest risk analysis (PRA) in October 2014. The previous workshop was held only four years after the signing of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). Under the SPS Agreement, countries have the sovereign right to maintain measures to ensure that food is safe for consumers and to prevent the spread of pests of animals and plants so long as the measures are not a disguised restriction on international trade. Any SPS measures that a country applies must be scientifically justified. As one speaker put it, “scientific justification is the heart of the SPS Agreement”. Measures that are based on international standards or pest risk analysis are deemed to be based on sound science. Above and beyond that, pest risk analysis matters to everyone – from farmers to foresters to consumers – because it is a tool by which governments identify and head off potential threats to the health of humans, animals and plants. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA) has declared the country free of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in a development that is expected to ease trade restrictions and boost the produce industry.
The declaration will positively impact on 1.8 million hectares of growing land for some key agricultural crops – including tomatoes, mangoes and avocados – with an annual production of 17.6 million metric tons (MT). The total value of the affected produce is estimated to be around 86 billion pesos (US$6.4 billion).
SAGARPA said the fruit fly’s eradication was a result of phytosanitary measures that had been in place for 35 years.
Find out more about the distribution of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, by clicking on the image below. Distribution records in CABI’s products (Plantwise knowledge bank and CPC) will be updated shortly.
It is estimated that 2 million chemical preparations are for sale around the world. Many of these chemicals have hazards associated with them. An estimated 200,000 people die each year of pesticide poisoning. And yet, it is very difficult for any one country acting on its own to track all of these chemicals and to assess all safety concerns. The Rotterdam Convention supports information exchange on hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals.
At its sixth meeting earlier this month, members of the Convention agreed to add azinphos-methyl to the list of chemicals requiring “prior informed consent” (Annex III of the Convention). Azinphos-methyl is an insecticide used to control mites and moths by interfering with the nervous system. Canada was one of the countries that provided information to support its inclusion in Annex III because the Canadian authorities have found that “the use of azinphos-methyl and associated end-use products entails an unacceptable risk of harm to the agricultural worker”. Continue reading →
Participation in the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) is much more than just turning up. It needs a good understanding of the technical issues involved, and of the way in which decisions are reached. To be heard, interventions from the floor must be made in the right way at the right time. So to build the consensus on which CPM depends, delegates from the same region with common interests often support each other in plenary. But to be effective, this approach needs planning.
For 350 international delegates and observers attending this week’s annual meeting of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), standards will be adopted on plant protection with far-reaching implications on livelihoods, food security and ecosystems back at home. Plantwise, a development cooperation programme led by CABI which works to improve livelihoods in 31 countries, convened representatives of national governments and international organisations on Thursday to address the impact of improved pest advice, and pest tracking, for the small-holder farmer. At the CPM side session representatives of the World Trade Organization, the International Seed Federation and Contracting Parties of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) discussed how Plantwise can support the National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPO) and contribute to the mission of the IPPC.