Burundi Members of Parliament agreed to push for ratification of the East African Community (EAC) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol following a Hub-supported awareness workshop. Burundi and Tanzania are the only remaining EAC countries that have yet to ratify the Protocol. Ratification of the EAC SPS Protocol by all the EAC partner states will pave the way for domestication of the Protocol, including the drafting of harmonized regulations based on the EAC SPS Bill covering plant health, animal health and food safety. Harmonized SPS regulations among the EAC Partner States will contribute to greater intra-EAC and international trade.
The Hub conducted the SPS Protocol awareness-raising workshop in collaboration with the Burundi Bureau of Standards and Quality Control. High-ranking government officials, including two Cabinet Ministers, four members of Parliament (including the President of the Committee on agriculture and livestock) and Senate, representatives of competent authorities responsible for plant health, animal health and food safety, private sector and the academia attended. Workshop facilitators outlined what participants have to gain by ratifying the SPS Protocol, including:
- Better food safety measures
- Improved plant protection and animal health.
- Enhanced risk mitigation arising from pest, pests, diseases and food safety concerns e.g. aflatoxins
- Improved competitiveness of the produce originating from the EAC region to external markets, such as the European Union
- Stronger coordination of institutional frameworks for enforcing of SPS measures within the EAC region.
By raising awareness of stakeholders, especially the parliamentarians, the Hub hopes to expedite the ratification process in the country.
The Hub is supporting the EAC Partner States in the ratification of the EAC SPS Protocol, finalization of the EAC SPS Bill and drafting of SPS regulations. The main aim of the EAC SPS Protocol is to adopt and enforce SPS measures in order to minimize their negative effects on trade. The Protocol elaborates rules for application, which relate to the use of SPS measures, and recognizes the rights of importing countries to implement these measures. The Hub intervention directly contributes to improved market access, increased competitiveness of the regional value chains and volume of traded commodities in the region and internationally.