Huatulco, Oaxaca. October 25, 2014
- Oaxaca hosted the 38th Annual Meeting of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), which included the participation of health authorities from Canada, the US and Mexico.
- Approximately 30 percent of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) sponsored by the FAO, were drawn from NAPPO initiatives.
- Secretary Enrique Martínez y Martínez has given instructions to contribute to increasing the existence of structural and operational similarity among the three plant health agencies in North America.
In order to harmonize standards to protect North America’s agricultural product heritage from exotic pests and streamline trade in the region, representatives from Mexico, Canada and the United States participated in the 38th Annual Meeting of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO).
The Director General of Plant Health at the National Service for Food Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA), Javier Trujillo Arriaga, said that NAPPO plays a key role in the development of regional phytosanitary standards, which are the basis for the development of international regulations.
The official from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) reported that approximately 30 percent of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), were drawn from NAPPO initiatives.
In that sense, he said, the practical approach that industry can provide to NAPPO activities will be decisive for the establishment of future guidelines that offer certainty in global agricultural trade.
Trujillo Arriaga said that the instructions from the head of SAGARPA, Enrique Martínez y Martínez, are for Mexico to contribute to increasing the existence of structural and operational similarity among the three plant health agencies in North America.
He explained that NAPPO is the standardizer of specific regulations and serves as catalyst to ensure that there is no difference in the establishment and operation of phytosanitary regulations among National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs).
The interim Executive Director of NAPPO, Christina Devorshak, said that this is an opportunity to interact with NAPPO decision-makers and provide views on the tasks to be carried out in 2015.
Following this meeting, she added, it will be easier to understand how regional standards for phytosanitary measures influence international trade in agricultural and forest resources.
She said that NAPPO is characterized by its yearly adjustment of the agenda of government and industry meetings. "This demonstrates the ongoing efforts of the three NAPPO countries to improve interaction and communication among National Plant Protection Organizations and industry," she stated.
She also noted that the Executive Committee will meet with groups of producers and experts so that stakeholders can provide feedback on projects in operation since 2013 and 2014, and submit proposals for 2015, with respect to projects directly related to international efforts.
Meanwhile, Executive Committee members representing Canada, Greg Wolff, and the United States, Rebecca Bech, agreed that the annual NAPPO meeting provides an excellent forum for those involved in plant protection, as international cooperative activities are promoted, while producers and entrepreneurs are offered investment and value-added opportunities for the region’s fruit and vegetable industry.
As part of this meeting’s agenda, a symposium was held on "Electronic Phytosanitary Certification: from concept to implementation", in which international experts shared their knowledge and underscored the expected benefits from implementing this concept. This system is voluntary and provides a mechanism for secure electronic exchange of the same information that appears on the paper phytosanitary certificates.
Concurrent sessions from industry and government were also carried out by each of the countries, Canada, the United States and Mexico, followed by a combined government-industry meeting, attended by all and focusing on a common interest.
Independent producers and representatives of organized industry groups also attended these meetings, where an exchange of information enabled identification of the priorities and specific issues proposed for NAPPO to attend to next year.
It should be noted that NAPPO is an Organization that belongs to the FAO’s International Plant Protection Convention, responsible for coordinating efforts among Canada, the United States and Mexico to protect their plant resources from the entry, establishment and spread of regulated plant pests, while facilitating trade between member countries and other regions of the world.
The meeting, held from October 22-24, brought together government representatives, agricultural growers, packers and marketers, universities, research institutes and schools of higher learning from the three countries in the region.
Additional participants included representatives from the National Plant Protection Organizations of countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.