Stakeholders in the sub-sahara region have emphasized the need for effective co-ordination in the region to deal with the issues of crop pest and diseases on the continent.

Agric sector chiefs across West Africa are in Ghana for the 7th national plant protection organization and partner’s taskforce meeting seeking to set out some guidelines aimed at improving plant health in the sub-region.

Speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the 7th West Africa NPPOs and Partners’ Taskforce Annual Meeting, Regional co-ordinator, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS), Ecowas/Sahel-Region, Dr. Benoit Gnonlonfin reemphasized the importance of regional co-ordination in the region.

“Within each member state, we have national farm protection organizations, which are the NPPO, and then those are the ones in charge of plant production in each member state. So, we thought that bringing them together and then speak to each other and share their experiences will be a value addition in terms of coordination at the regional level,” he explained

Dr. Gnonlonfin also attributed the continents success in dealing with recent crises such as the fall army worm to the capacities and harmonizing of plant quarantine operations.

“So that’s what we did and we have seen the impact of that on the ground. One example is that when we have that mechanism, it was very easy now to all the members states to really come on board and manage very well the fall army worm. Equally, when we had the desert locusts envisioned in the horn of Africa, so we pulled them together and then at the regional level, we put some anticipatory action and also prevention mechanism in place within the cost of subregion. And then we were not able to have the envision of desert locusts in our region,” he said.

“So we have seen that this mechanism has really helped to have effective coordination at the regional level and again, helped to mobilize resources for implementing all the activities that have been agreed with all the member states,” Dr. Benoit Gnonlonfin emphasized.

Meanwhile Deputy Minister for Food & Agriculture in charge of crops Yaw Frimpong Addo on his part reiterated the need to provide support and build capacities for those in charge of the SPS of countries to safeguard the production of crop produce that meet international standards and maximize the potential gains they offer to the economy.

“If the report that we are hearing is that Europe ban lots of our exports to the European countries as a result of the detection of some of these processes, then we must give support to such very scientific and expertise group so they can check some of these present diseases before our produce our exports to Europe and the rest of the world.

“So we encourage gatherings like this, the expertise here from the rest of Africa, the resources that are supporting us to have good and healthy foods to consume in our member countries. Every country must give support to this group in terms of budgeted support and advocacy,” he added

The Regional West Africa NPPOs and Partners Taskforce serves as a consultation framework to address plant health issues in the West Africa and Sahel region. The taskforce is charged with developing a regional action plan to support the region’s plant health systems, implementing it findings with the support of USDA, FAO and ECOWAS. The 7th West Africa NPPOs and Partners’ Taskforce Annual Meeting attended by over 30 sector players across the sub-sahara region is expected to play a vital role in identifying and agreeing on priorities for the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), as well as adopting common positions in preparing for the global annual meeting, CPM, which will be held in Rome, Italy from April 15 to April 19, 2024.