Agriculture stakeholders discuss regional food safety

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — In an effort to enhance the quality of agricultural produce in the region, food safety stakeholders convened in Barbados from April 25-26, 2017, to discuss the improvement of plant health in the region.

The two-day consultations, conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Services (APHIS), and the Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative (GCIS), discussed the implementation of programmes to safeguard the region from the introduction and spread of pests and invasive species.

A primary objective of the gathering was to foster synergies among partners and formulate plans for the upcoming year. The meeting also sought to develop the draft agenda for the tenth annual Caribbean Plant Health Directors’ (CPHD) forum meeting, scheduled to be held in the Dominican Republic in July 2017.

Stakeholders discussed and identified strategies to achieve more defined outcomes from the CPHD meetings and reviewed options for technical working groups (TWGs) in emergency response, communications, palm pest, fruit fly, mollusk and safeguarding initiatives.

The meeting also received presentations from partner organisations and reviewed work programmes, achievements and challenges with a view to developing improved programmes, and enhancing collaboration with the CPHD. Various TWGs also presented annual reports which were reviewed by stakeholders and work plans for the next twelve months were elaborated.

Details on the regional plant quarantine training course, to be hosted by the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies in August 2017, were also discussed.

The meeting was conducted in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Caribbean Agriculture Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) and the Center for Agriculture Biosciences International (CABI).

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