By MUHAMMED S. BAH
It was revealed that the Gambia will be among the last countries to ratify the International Plant Convention (IPPC), a legally binding international treaty relating to plant health which was adopted by the conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at its sixth session in 1951 and amended in 1997.
Ismaila Sanyang, the Minister of Agriculture, said this when tabling a motion before the law makers for ratification on Tuesday, 4 October 2016.
Mr. Sanyang said the Secretariat to the Convention is provided by FAO to secure common and effective action to, inter alia, prevent the spread and introduction of trans-boundary pest of plants, including weeds and plant products.
“The Convention generally applies to anything that could be a vector for pests of plant such as exported plant products/material, conveyances, containers and soil, tourism research and materials,” said the agriculture minister.
He said the implementation of the Convention is primarily a national obligation of contracting parties.
Mr. Sanyang noted that the IPPC is one of the three international standard setting bodies recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement).
Highlighting the objectives of the IPPC, the agriculture minister said “The primary focus of the IPPC is to regulate the movement and international trade plants and plant products that may act as a pathway or vector for the introduction of plant pests including invasive weed spices.”
He added that IPPC therefore plays an important role in protecting farmers from economically devastating pest and disease outbreaks and the environment from the loss of species diversity.
He identified the benefits as including technical assistance and support to developing countries in capacity-building activities.
“Building phytosanitary capacity in developing countries, IPPC has managed the delivery of technical assistant for over USD22 Million over year 2012,” he said.
The motion was seconded by Hon. Abdou Colley, National Assembly Member for Kombo South, and was later ratified.