Published Saturday , on 23 March 2019, 19:53:00 by Christophe Hitayezu

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in-charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo has called upon pest control product companies to take advantage of EAC harmonized system for testing and registration of pesticides.

The 38th Extra-Ordinary Council of Ministers held on 30th January, 2019 approved the EAC pesticides management guidelines on efficacy trials, residue trials and registration requirements. The Council further directed Partner States to domesticate them by 30th May 2020.

The EAC harmonized system comes with a number of benefits that will translate to reduced time and costs associated with testing and registration of pest control products across EAC Partner States. It is expected that farmers in the region will have increased access to quality, safe and affordable pesticides.

Hon. Bazivamo informed the companies that involvement of the Private Sector is pivotal for successful implementation of the guidelines. He further said that EAC appreciates and recognizes the contribution that the private sector makes in the EAC integration agenda.

Hon. Bazivamo made the remarks during the Technical Working Group meeting on pilot testing of EAC harmonized pesticides registration guidelines held at the Mt. Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania from 18th to 21st March, 2019.

The meeting was convened by the EAC Secretariat with support from USAID Kenya and East Africa, the United States Department of Agriculture and Africa Lead II. The main objective of the meeting was to finalize roadmap and discuss modalities of pilot testing of EAC harmonized guidelines for testing and registration of pesticides.

The meeting was attended by members of the EAC Technical Working Group on Pesticides harmonization, Agriculture Desk officers from Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs, pest control product companies (Bayer, Syngenta, AgBiTech, REAL IPM, Corteva, Triachem, Provivi and Arysta Life Science), CropLife Africa Middle East, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Africa Lead, the Alliance for a Green Revolution and the EAC Secretariat.

Addressing the meeting, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, mentioned that area of agrochemicals and pest control products is a key priority in the EAC agricultural sector. Article 108 of the EAC Treaty focuses on the need for EAC Partner States to adopt common mechanism to ensure safety, efficacy and potency of agricultural inputs including chemicals, drugs and vaccines.

Hon. Bazivamo informed the meeting that 11th Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security held in June 2018 adopted the EAC pesticides management guidelines and urged Partner States to pilot implementation of the pesticide efficacy guidelines for the first three years in order to pave way for operationalization of full mutual recognition.

The Sectoral Council also urged Partner States to prioritize joint testing of pesticides and to share information on products that can control the Fall Army Worm which has posed a major threat to food security in the region.

Since 2016 the Fall Army Worm has been spreading across much of sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, over 45 countries out of 55 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have been affected. It is estimated that Fall Army Worm has the potential to cause maize yield losses in the range of US$ 2 to 6 billion in Africa’s maize producing countries.

During the meeting, representatives of Bayer, Syngenta, AgBiTech, REAL IPM, Corteva, Provivi and Arysta Life Science made presentations about products developed by their respective companies to control the Fall Army Worm. The presentations also outlined the efficacy and safety of the products and EAC Partner States where the companies intend to conduct pilot trials of their products.