TOP STORY: Ratification of plant law to improve trade

Rwanda as an exporting country would have found it difficult to attract international traders because plant products did not comply with international standards Rwanda has ratified the International Plant Protection Convention, a move that will see an increase in the trade of plant products. The treaty ratified recently proposed a plant health law to control pests and diseases across borders.
Draceana trees ready for export. (File Photo).
Draceana trees ready for export. (File Photo).

Rwanda as an exporting country would have found it difficult to attract international traders because plant products did not comply with international standards

Rwanda has ratified the International Plant Protection Convention, a move that will see an increase in the trade of plant products. The treaty ratified recently proposed a plant health law to control pests and diseases across borders.

Rwanda as an exporting country would have found it difficult to attract international traders because plant products did not comply with international standards.

“International partners in business were hesitant to engage themselves in exporting Rwandan products because at any time tested and find out to be carrying pests or diseases they would be re-exported,” said Peter Muvara the Chairman of Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority.

Apart from engaging with international trade partners, Rwanda will benefit from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) technical assistance programmes like training in national plant protection office, pest risk analysis and it will also qualify for technical cooperation programmes that are aimed at assisting developing countries in capacity building.
Recently the Central Bank presented an increase of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 7.9 percent in 2007 to 11.2 percent last year, which was driven by good performance of the agricultural sector.

Agriculture sector contributed 15 percent growth to the highest economic growth Rwanda registered in five years ago. The country will also have access to technical assistance funds to conduct national pest surveillance and monitoring programmes.

The law will give powers to inspect border posts like international airports, land crossings, and waterways, eradication and containment of introduced pests, post-entry quarantine of articles subject to investigation for security and experimental work on organisms otherwise prohibited.

According to Muvara, Rwanda did not have enough legal basis to set up international standards on import controls, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS).

“Rwanda needs a new plant health law, the existing law was outdated (1975) and did not provide for plant inspection nor does it give powers of search in case one is suspected to possess harmful organisms,” Muvara said.

Rwanda  is obliged to ratify the treaty if it has to carry out her numerous initiatives like increasing agriculture exports with the aim of achieving the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and vision 2020.

For effective and efficient implementation of the law, Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority RADA will take on the task along with Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority and Rwanda Bureau of Standards.

It’s said that Rwanda ratifying the treaty makes it suit in the regional blocks like East African Community (EAC) and since they use International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) as a guide to achieve harmonisation of import controls.

IPPC is an international treaty organization that works to prevent the international spread of pests and plant diseases.

Among its functions include the maintenance of lists of plant pests, tracking of pest outbreaks, and coordination of technical assistance between member nations.

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