Comesa team introduces WTO framework locally


Mr Nalletamby (photo above) addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop on Monday

The workshop, which was an initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry and the Seychelles Agricultural Agency in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretariat, took place on Monday at the Care House.

Those present have learned about the MCDA, its importance and effectiveness and have gained skills in how to apply this tool in the country’s bid to establish its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) mechanisms, which concern the application of food safety, animal and plant health regulations.

Six representatives of the Comesa were present for the workshop including the Seychelles country office and USAID programme manager Walter Talma.

The MCDA has been developed and promoted by the WTO to help decision makers in developing countries to prioritise and make choices between competing SPS investments.

In his opening address, principal secretary for natural resources and industry Michael Nalletamby said the session is in line with national efforts to align our plant protection and veterinary services and bio-security related services and activities to the WTO SPS agreement.

Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets constraints on member states' policies relating to food safety as well as animal and plant health (phytosanitation) with respect to imported pests and diseases.

Mr Nalletamby gave examples to illustrate how the tourism and agricultural sectors are highly vulnerable in a globalised Seychelles.

“They are exposed to increased risks of pests, diseases, and invasive alien species introduction and the detrimental effects that follow on a daily basis to food and nutrition security,” he said.
Therefore continued protection of these sectors and the pristine and unique biodiversity is crucial, he added.

Mr Nalletamby said there is a need for us to be resolute, innovative and do things smarter, adding that the best response to these threats is proper SPS measures.

He said there is much to be done in preparation for Seychelles’ accession to the WTO among which is establishing compliant SPS measures.

Sessions will also be taking place until June 14 whereby those taking part will finalise a list of capacity building options from the workshop, visit various sources for data collection and prepare a draft report among other activities.