In December 2019, the West Africa NPPOs and partners met in Senegal to advance their regional SPS harmonization efforts. They reviewed a draft Harmonized Phytosanitary Inspection and Decision-making Guide to help strengthen and harmonize the border inspection and quarantine operations in the region. They recommended that all 15 member countries should test the guide in the field and to train the plant quarantine inspectors on its use.
Soon after, the COVID pandemic began to limit travel and these collaborative activities. In late 2020, national level trainings were safely held in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin and Nigeria, to both test the protocol and to prepare NPPO officials to further train their inspectors.
In 2021, the travel restrictions limited the ability of the AFSI team to lead trainings to implement the guide. Fortunately, the team was able to travel to Cabo Verde, where COVID transmission was relatively contained.
In September 2021, the pilot training workshop “The Use of the Harmonized Phytosanitary Inspection and Decision-Making Guide” was held with support from USDA-FAS. The effort is to support West Africa NPPOs Taskforce to promote best practices in plant quarantine operations and safe trade in the region.
Some 15 plant quarantine inspectors from across Cape Verde attended the training to learn about and to test the applicability of the Guide. Experts from ECOWAS and the Cape Verde National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (INIDA) facilitated the training. The agenda included:
- Presentations and discussions on the provisions of the Guide related to the Procedures for Inspection at Import & Export.
- Simulation exercises with practical demonstrations of phytosanitary inspection, sampling, pest detection and identification and decision-making.