Moves to Harmonize SPS Standards in CARIFORUM States advanced
Model Bills for plant protection and animal health; food safety; fish health and fisheries products with relevant protocols, standards, guidelines and accompanying regulations, have been completed under a European Union Funded Project entitled “ Support to the Caribbean Forum of ACP States in the Implementation of Commitments Undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures.
The overall objective of the SPS Project is to strengthen the capacity of CARIFORUM States international market access through compliance with Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, as well as improve capacity for developing regionally harmonized SPS measures.
The SPS Project commenced on September 2013 and is being implemented by the Inter-American Institute for cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the following partners, CARICOM Secretary (CCS), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the SPS Committee of the Dominican Republic. The harmonized and upgraded legislative framework is one aspect of the EU-funded project.
SPS measures are embodied in protocols which ensure that imported food is safe and prevents the spread of pests and diseases among animals and plants.
The completed Model Bill aims at enhancing CARIFORUM Agricultural Health and Food Safety efforts and strengthening enforcement protocols, standards, measures and guidelines for increased regional and international marketing in agriculture and fisheries. A workshop to validate the draft bills is to be held in Barbados early in June.
The completed harmonized legislation for implementation of SPS measures will set the stage for increased Intra- and Extra-regional Trade thereby securing the livelihood of farmers.
This is consistent with Guyana’s quest to expand and diversify its agriculture sector and to retain its net food exporter status.
Other beneficiary countries are Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Haiti; Jamaica; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago.
The draft bills are to be taken through the remaining process of recommendations by Legal and Technical Officials to Heads of Government and then for adoption by Member Countries via their Parliaments.
Two (2) other elements of the EU/IICA SPS Project currently on-going are development and organization of an efficient responsive institutional framework and mechanism for coordination of SPS issues and development of national and regional regulatory and industry capacity to meet the requirements of international trade.