In June 2021, the EAC approved a shared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for inspecting maize, beans and rice for pests of phytosanitary importance. The Inspection SOP document highlights the importance of these efforts:
“The East African Community (EAC) is an economic block that creates demand for trade in a wide range of commodities among the Partner States. In the course of the intra-EAC trade in agricultural commodities, there is a likelihood of introduction of quarantine pests, often inadvertently. Therefore, trade in agricultural commodities has to go hand-in-hand with assurances that the commodities in question meet the phytosanitary requirements of importing countries in order to prevent entry, establishment, spread, or impact/consequences of such pests. The risk of movement of pests through trade can be mitigated by applying phytosanitary measures that are commensurate with the level of risk as determined through pest risk analysis (PRA) for each pest under consideration.” p3
The EAC has achieved this aligned standard operating procedure after years of collaboration in building a shared understanding and approach to pest risk analysis in these target crops.
The EAC member state National Plant Protection Organizations now have the task of implementing the SOPs at each border inspection facility. The USDA and USAID are supporting these trainings through supporting the NPPOs’ training manual development and facilitating travel and training costs throughout the region.
The first border post training was held November 10-12, 2021, at Kenya and Tanzania’s Namanga One-Stop Border Post. The training includes inspectors from both countries, and is being led by trainers from both countries, along with EAC leaders and other dignitaries.