Aurelien Simplice Kongbelet Zingas from Central Africa Republic who deputized for the Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament has disclosed that no government would allow unsafe food or sick animals into its territory due to the public health threats they present.
He made this disclosure when delivering his opening statement on African Union Inter-Africa Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) workshop for the members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on Sanitary Regulation and Enforcement. The three-day conservative forum was held at the Ocean Bay Hotel, in Cape Point.
“We are very familiar with havoc wrecked by outbreaks of bird flu, Ebola, diseases of small ruminants (PPR), contamination of cereals with aflatoxins and recently the devastating nature of fall armyworm on major staples such as maize sorghum”, he stated.
He said that agriculture offers a huge opportunity for Africa to transform its economies into economies. “We have diverse agric-value chains, which are waiting to be transformed from mere subsistence operations into huge commercial businesses”.
Therefore, he added that agricultural productivity and public investment would contribute to GDP growth and generate significant consumption and production linkages, which can lead to more job creation for youth and women, poverty reduction, improved livelihoods, attainment of food security and economic development. Hence, they must commit to use, their unique role as MPs to advocate for greater investment for the agriculture sector.
According to him, one of these areas where more investment is urgently needed is in the field of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures compliance adding that despite its huge agricultural potential, Africa continues to trade below its capacity, partly due to the inability of our agricultural commodities to meet the required standards.
He stated that the objectives of this workshop is to create awareness amongst the members of PAP on sanitary and phytosanitary issues relevant for Africa and to articulate the oversight role of members of parliament on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and their tracking using Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system. “I am hopeful that this workshop will enable us share experiences as we work towards achieving a common goal of protecting the health of consumers and promoting trade”, he concluded.
MomodouLaminSanneh, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly observed that AU-IBAR continues to support adoption of strategies, policies and programmes on animal resources as well as the harmonization and coordination required in addressing the challenges related to animal resources development.
He underscored the efforts made by AU-IBAR to enable the AU Member States to make significant milestones towards the achievements of the Agenda 2063, the blue print for Africa’s socio-economic development and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)/MALABO declarations.
According to him, AU-IBAR is supporting the Gambia to review the Animal Disease Act and the Veterinary Council Act followings of the OIE PVS and Veterinary Legislations support programme for the Gambia that identified several opportunities to be harnessed through the review of the two acts.
“I believe if you will become strong advocates and champions of SPS legislation reforms in the continent in order to create an enabling SPS legislative environment necessary for enhanced productivity, food and feed safety, quality control, successful animal and animal related businesses and viable markets and trade”, he told PAP members.
Dr.Baboucarr Jaw, AU-IBAR who spoke on behalf of the director of AU-IBAR revealed that at AU-IBAR, they recognize parliamentarians as very important and strategic partners to deliver their mandate of supporting and coordinating the utilization of animals (livestock, fisheries and wildlife) as a resource for human wellbeing in the Member States of African Union and to contribute to economic development.
By Aji Fatou Faal