Study tour to Kenya by Somalia’s competent authorities

In the last week of May, Kenya hosted a study tour by the Somalian competent authorities – the Somali Bureau of Standards (SOBS) and the Somali Agricultural Regulatory and Inspection Services (SARIS), part of the Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation (MoA). They visited the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) among other key stakeholders in the country – the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), Bureau Veritas and Naivasha VegPro Group.

The tour was supported by COLEACP through Fit For Market SPS, in partnership with the EU SPDI (Support to Policy Dialogue on Investment Climate) programme.

The objective was to support the Somali authorities to gain a good understanding of the legal and administrative frameworks involved in the successful functioning of a National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) and of national standards bodies. The goal was to support the country’s competent authorities to develop a joint strategy for the development of technical regulations and standards for plant health inspection services, based on regional and international best practices.

The tour covered a lot of ground, and in particular supported SARIS and SOBS to understand their mandates better and build strong cooperation between the two organisations.

The visit also highlighted that the emergence of export associations for agricultural produce will be key to SARIS’ ability to develop efficient, market demand-driven phytosanitary services. The highly perishable nature of agricultural produce requires close cooperation and partnership between NPPOs and exporters to ensure efficient and effective certification operations that can support the competitiveness of the local industry.

Building an efficient and effective quality infrastructure for agriculture (livestock, crops and fisheries) – the most important sector of the Somali economy – will be an essential ingredient for competitiveness, access to new markets, productivity improvement, innovation of new products, and environmental protection, as well as the health and safety of local and international consumers.

A next step of the collaboration will include support to SARIS with implementation of the Rapid SPS Assessment Tool (R-SAT) for competent authorities.

These activities are supported by the Fit For Market SPS programme, implemented by COLEACP within the Framework of Development Cooperation between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union.

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