Mr Earnest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said that in order to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests and promote safe trade, countries must set appropriate requirements for imports.
Such requirements, he said, are set through pest risk analysis which involves the process of evaluating biological or other scientific and economic evidence to determine whether a pest should be regulated or any sanitary measures be applied.
These were contained in a speech read on his behalf by Madam Millie K. Boamah, Deputy Director, Plant Protection and Regulatory Services, at a five-day Pest Risk Analysis Workshop organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Accra.
Participating countries are Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Mali, Gabon, Cameroun and Senegal.
Mr. Debrah said decision makers must therefore create a conducive atmosphere by providing adequate resources for the conduct of Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) with little interference.
He said the rate of population growth in Africa requires revolutionary means for ensuring that every one is fed through introduction of proven varieties of seed which could also serve as a pathway for the introduction of pests.
Mr Debrah said there were pest occurrences and for that matter there should be a comprehensive PRA based on national pest surveillance data and previous interceptions but unfortunately, due to limited capacities and capabilities, most African countries do not have up-to-date information or pest surveillance, interception and checklist for pests.
He appealed to the FAO to initiate programmes where trained personnel are given equipment and other materials to undertake joint PRA in their Zones.
Mr Debrah said when this happens and similar mitigation measures are applied, countries would be protected from the introduction of and spread of pests of quarantine significance.
Mr. Tesfai Tecle, Officer-in-Charge of FAO Regional Office for African, supported the idea for the provision of resources to control spread of pests, saying that, the participation in the workshop recognizes the importance of fully functional national phyto-sanitary service.
Mr Tecle said it also recognize that, a fully functional service cannot be effective without a clear understanding of import regulatory systems, the international treaties, standards and principles that guide phyto-sanitary action and their implications of countries