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Assessment of the Capacity of BiH phytosanitary laboratories to perform tests on quarantine pests of potatoes according to EU standards and assistance to laboratopries in developing quality systems

The purpose of the Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity (FARMA) is to provide technical assistance in Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) subsectors of agriculture markets through demand driven assistance aimed at improved competitiveness of BiH agricultural products. FARMA is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing and sales of value-added agricultural products. The expected result of FARMA is economic growth and contribution to poverty reduction.

Among other activities, FARMA has been working with the BiH Plant Health Administration to assist BiH potato producers meet phytosanitary requirements for the export of potatoes to the EU. Potato is one of the most widely grown crops in BiH. It is also an important export crop, relative to other vegetables. Nearly 2.4 million tons were exported to neighboring countries and Norway, which represents 20% of total vegetable export in terms of quantity, and 6 % in terms of value. Currently, BiH cannot export potatoes to the EU as it does not have an EU-approved National Monitoring Plan on quarantine pests affecting potatoes.

The BiH Plant Health Administration has already adopted regulations on the systematic control and management of quarantine pests, in accordance to relevant EU Directives. The 5 quarantine pests are Clavibacter michiganensis (Smith) Davis et al. ssp. sepedonicus (Spieckermann et Kotthoff) Davis et al., Ralstonia solanacearum (Smith) Yabuuchi et al. (Globodera rostochiensis Woll.), and (Globodera pallida Stone) Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Perc. BiH must now establish a monitoring system in accordance with procedures required by the EU. A monitoring plan has already been drafted and is being discussed with key stakeholders. Together with the BiH Plant Health Administration, FARMA has already conducted five training events to inform producers about the quarantine pests. Training is also planned for agricultural / phytosanitary inspectors who will play a key role in the enforcement of the monitoring plan. In addition, it is essential to ensure that laboratories in BiH can undertake the required laboratory tests, which is the reason for this assignment.

Currently there are 5 government-authorized laboratories for seeds and plant materials in BiH: USK Agriculture Institute in Bihac, Agriculture Faculty in Banja Luka, Agriculture Institute in Banja Luka, Agriculture Institute in Sarajevo, Agricuture Faculty in Sarajevo, Agriculture Institute / Faculty in Mostar. These laboratories have varied equipment and staff capacities to undertake the required tests. In general, experience in the analysis of above-mentioned quarantine pests is very low. Through a World Bank-funded project, the BiH Plant Health Administration will conduct a general assessment of phytosanitary laboratories in terms of equipment needs and staff capacities. The purpose to this assignment with FARMA is to focus on specific, quarantine, pests.

The purpose of this assignment is to assess the current capacities and procedures in BiH phytosanitary laboratories and assist laboratories develop and implement internationally accepted methods for detection and identification of quarantine pests in potatoes.

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