Biosecurity and Trade

Biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach to analyzing and managing relevant risks to human, animal and plant life and health and associated risks to the environment. Interest in biosecurity has risen considerably over the last decade in parallel with increasing trade in food, plant and animal products, more international travel, new outbreaks of transboundary disease affecting animals, plants and people, heightened awareness of biological diversity and greater attention to the environment and the impact of agriculture on environmental sustainability.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTSs) need to position themselves to take advantage of trading opportunities, while protecting their natural resource base from potential risks.
SPC-AusAID to launch second phase of regional market access programme
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:44

A regional programme aimed to assist Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands gain access to new markets for products with commercial potential is launching a second phase. The launch will be held at the USP Oceania Centre on 16 August and will be officiated by Mr Glenn Miles, Acting Australian High Commissioner; the Hon. Inia Seruiratu, Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests; and Mrs Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Deputy Director-General of SPC.

Known as the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Programme, the Australian Government-funded initiative is launching PHAMA II after successful completion of phase1. A particularly important and successful aspect of PHAMA’s work so far has been to develop a strong partnership between governments and the private sector to help manage market access issues. The regional programme has helped strengthen export pathways for papaya and eggplant from Fiji, processed fish and sawn timber from Solomon Islands, water melons from Tonga, beef from Vanuatu, and copra meal from Solomon Islands and Samoa.

PHAMA II will see an injection of AUD 14.5 million over four years. This second phase will continue to develop the necessary systems and skills for exporting countries to reliably meet the conditions imposed by importing country regulatory authorities, once access has been gained.
PHAMA team leader, Mr Richard Holloway, said that gaining and maintaining access to markets for key rural exports is a critical, but difficult, task.
‘PHAMA has been working in partnership with SPC for the last two and a half years to help Pacific Island countries develop exports of primary sector products, including agricultural, horticultural, forest and fish products. The programme’s focus is providing practical, product-by-product assistance to help level the playing field concerning the regulatory aspects associated with exporting primary sector products. This work is highly technical in nature, and is an area that under-resourced Pacific Island countries have long struggled with.

‘PHAMA is involved in trying to help improve existing access conditions where these prove too demanding or costly for Pacific exporters. The programme can help with emergency breakdowns in trade, for example, where exports are suspended due to non-compliance with specified quarantine measures,’ he said.

The programme has followed an intensive approach in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, with more general market access support services being provided to countries across the region by SPC’s Biosecurity and Trade team. Several new markets have already been opened up, such as the export of fresh ginger from Fiji to Australia, water melons from Tonga to Fiji, and cooked breadfruit from Samoa to New Zealand and Australia. Work is at an advanced stage on numerous additional products.

PHAMA has a country-specific focus, its work being driven by national market access working groups, which comprise equal representation of government (e.g. quarantine, trade and agriculture departments) and the private sector (exporters and producer groups). The working groups form the heart of the programme in each country, as they are responsible for identifying high priority market access issues where PHAMA provides assistance, and for overseeing the activities supported by PHAMA to address the issues. In some countries the groups are already being recognised as ‘best practice’ examples of public-private cooperation.

Delegates invited to the launch of PHAMA II include the regional leaders of the market access working groups, plus one or two of its national members.
PHAMA will complement existing SPC technical programmes in the region and help to sustain a regional service which, in the past, has had delivery difficulties due to uncertainty of funding support.

Component 4 of PHAMA has been designed to comprise a discrete set of activities, implementation of which will be managed by SPC.
 
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