EAC SECTORAL COUNCIL APPROVES A MUTUAL RECOGNITION MECHANISM FOR REGISTRATION OF PESTICIDES AND A GUIDELINE FOR REGISTRATION OF PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS FOR PLANT PEST EMERGENCY RESPONSE
“The guidelines adopted by SCAFS will facilitate accelerated access to crop protection products that can control emerging and re-emerging transboundary crop pests.“
The East African Community (EAC) took a major step in embracing sustainable and integrated pest management in the region. On 19th May 2023, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the 16th Session of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) approved two critical regional documents for the mutual recognition of testing and registration protocols, and for registering pest control products for plant pest emergency responses. Approval of these documents is a major milestone towards mitigating the impacts of agricultural pests on food security and livelihoods. This work demonstrates a robust commitment to sustainable agriculture and environmental protection, which could serve as a model for other regions worldwide. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) supports this workstream through the Africa Food Safety Initiative (AFSI).
This adoption follows the recommendations of an April 17-22, 2023, regional validation workshop held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This workshop brought together key stakeholders including members of the EAC Technical Working Group on Pesticides, National Plant Protection Offices (NPPO) officials, the private sector (represented by CropLife Africa Middle East (CLAME)), TradeMark Africa (TMA), USDA FAS, and AFSI.
The EAC adopted a set of guidelines in 2018 designed to streamline the testing and registration of pesticides, facilitate trade, and safeguard the environment and population from the potential harmful impact of these products. They include evaluation criteria for the efficacy of pest control products for plants, guidelines for conducting supervised pesticide residue field trials on crops, and the protection of confidential business information in pesticide registration. Since 2019, pilot efficacy trials of selected pest control products have been conducted in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, which in part drove the EAC to develop a Mutual Recognition Mechanism. This mechanism aims to reduce duplication of effort, maximize resource sharing, and enhance the registration process across the seven EAC countries. An action plan will now be operationalized to ensure domestication and implementation of the mechanism by EAC Partner States.
In 2021, the EAC identified the need to develop harmonized guidelines to address plant pest emergency response. Emergency situations demand immediate action to protect health of crops or environment from unforeseen, disastrous conditions emanating from an invasion or attack of any invasive or dangerous pest species. The guidelines adopted by SCAFS will facilitate accelerated access to crop protection products that can control emerging and re-emerging transboundary crop pests. Moving forward, EAC Partner States will be expected to domesticate and implement the adopted guidelines. This work has been supported by USDA FAS, AFSI, TradeMark Africa, USAID Kenya East Africa, and CLAME through the EAC Secretariat.