EU initiative to be implemented by IICA is designed to strengthen the legal framework governing the sanitary and phytosanitary standards applied in the region.
San Jose, Costa Rica, February 13, 2014 (IICA). With a budget of 11.7 million Euros, implementation is under way of a project aimed at raising the productivity of the agricultural and fisheries industries of 15 countries that belong to the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), as well as improving the access of those countries’ products to global markets.
The first step in carrying out the initiative, financed by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), is to establish the priorities for modernizing the sanitary and phytosanitary regulations of the Caribbean countries.
So far, IICA specialists, working with representatives of the Caribbean community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) –partners in the initiative– have met with senior officials in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Belize to explain the scope of the project and determine the needs of each country with regard to agricultural health and food safety (AHFS).
“The aim is to develop national action plans to implement the general components of the project, such as the modernization of the legal framework for animal and plant health standards, the coordinated application of such measures at the national and regional levels, and capacity building in the countries,” explained Robert Ahern, manager of IICA’s AHFS Program, based at the Institute’s Headquarters in Costa Rica.
The 15 CARIFORUM countries that will benefit from the project are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The European Union selected IICA as the executing agency for the initiative, with implementation spread over a 42-month period. The agreement for the joint effort was signed last year in Guyana, during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, by the Director General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos, and the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union, Robert Kopecky.
In the second half of February, the IICA, CARICOM and CRFM delegations will continue their meetings with counterparts in Guyana, Suriname, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
In the Dominican Republic, the National Committee for the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (CNMSF) will also support implementation of the project.
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