In a concerted effort to fortify its phytosanitary infrastructure, Eswatini successfully concluded a comprehensive seven-month assessment of its plant health inspection services.
Spearheaded by the Eswatini National Plant Health Inspection Services (NaPHIS), in collaboration with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat and a consortium of stakeholders including governmental bodies and private enterprises, this evaluation marks a significant milestone in bolstering the country’s agricultural security.
The assessment, constituting the final of three consensus workshops, represents a culmination of diligent efforts aimed at fortifying Eswatini’s phytosanitary framework. This initiative falls under the project “Strengthening of capacities and governance in food and phytosanitary control,” generously funded by the European Union since November 2022.
The project’s objective spans two crucial facets: enhancing food safety protocols and fortifying plant health measures. It forms part of a broader endeavour spanning nine African Union member countries within the COMESA framework, ensuring compliance with international obligations while strategising to strengthen trade regulatory systems and the country’s phytosanitary network.
Through the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE), an integral part of this project, stakeholders meticulously assessed Eswatini’s existing phytosanitary systems.
These evaluations spanned three workshops, empowering national plant protection organisations (NPPOs) and private sector stakeholders to identify shortcomings and devise a comprehensive strategy to bolster these systems over the next five to ten years. The resultant strategy is poised to guide the country’s capacity development needs, potentially mobilising resources for its implementation.
Notably, IPPC-certified facilitators collaborated closely with NPPOs and stakeholders throughout this process, steering the PCE and formulating a national phytosanitary capacity development strategy aimed at enhancing plant health and stimulating economic growth.
The final workshop, following two preceding missions earlier in the year, served as the nexus of a seven-month journey for Eswatini. It culminated in the validation of prior workshop outcomes and the inception of a national strategic plan.
During the closing ceremony, senior government officials and partners were apprised of the PCE results, while key elements of the strategic plan were highlighted. This milestone paves the way for the creation of a National Phytosanitary Capacity Development Strategy and a costed plan intended to steer NaPHIS’s endeavours in enhancing national phytosanitary systems.
Anticipated outcomes encompass the implementation of national phytosanitary policies aligned with International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) of the IPPC.
Additionally, stakeholders underscored the augmentation of NPPOs’ capacities to execute their functions effectively. The collective optimism expressed during the closing ceremony resonated with expectations of a significantly enhanced phytosanitary system for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
This conclusive workshop signifies not just the end of a meticulous assessment but also the genesis of a robust strategy poised to fortify Eswatini’s agricultural defenses and bolster its position in the global trade landscape.