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Evaluation of phytosanitary controls and surveillance of harmful organisms in the potato sector

The assignment was carried out as part of ORGUT’s subcontract with Chemonics International within the USAID/Sida project –FARMA in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The purpose of USAID/Sida FARMA is to provide technical assistance in agricultural sub-sectors through demand driven assistance aimed at improved competitiveness of agricultural products. USAID/Sida FARMA is a development project jointly funded by USAID and Sida and implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. USAID/Sida FARMA is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing, and sales of value-added agricultural products. The expected result of FARMA is contribution to poverty reduction. USAID/Sida FARMA is implemented by Chemonics International with ORGUT as a subcontractor. ORGUT provides consulting services aiming at increasing agricultural competitiveness, meeting EU accession standards, reducing poverty by expanding environmentally sustainable production, and increasing sales, exports, and employment. USAID/Sida FARMA’s approach focuses on four integrated components: Building sustainable market linkages for producers; Increasing access to finance; Building the capacity of producer organisations’ and other counterparts; and Enhancing the policy environment to benefit competitiveness of agricultural goods. In order to attain project goals, USAID/ Sida FARMA uses various tools, including a Development Fund and Partners Fund for targeted subcontracts to local partners.

Potato is one of the most important crops grown in Bosnia and Herzegovina – covering an area of more than 37,000 ha. Potatoes could be an important export product to the EU, however the EU does not permit imports of potatoes unless the exporting country meets EU phytosanitary requirements. Specifically, Bosnia and Herzegovina must establish and implement a monitoring system on quarantine pests: 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. The BiH Plant Health Administration (PHA) has already adopted regulations on the systematic control and management of the above mentioned pests, in accordance to relevant EU Directives, and has been implementing the monitoring program at a state level for a couple of years.

USAID/Sida FARMA has been working with the BiH Plant Health Administration (PHA) to assist BiH potato producers meet phytosanitary requirements for the export of potatoes to the EU. In cooperation with the PHA, FARMA organized an assessment of the phytosanitary laboratories to determine the current capacities and trainings needs to undertake the required tests according to EU standards. Following this assessment, staff from selected laboratories participated in training programs in BiH and Slovenia in diagnostic methods of quarantine pests as well as good laboratory practices. In addition, laboratories participated in proficiency testing. FARMA organized annual assessments of laboratories to check on progress in meeting EU standards. Training of phytosanitary inspectors, on proper sampling of potatoes, was also organized. Furthermore, FARMA and the BiH PHA organized annual meetings with stakeholders (Entity Ministries of Agriculture, Inspectorates etc.) to assess the effectives of the program implementation and make improvements for future years and also raised awareness of the issue among farmers. In December 2012 BiH Plant Health Administration submitted a questionnaire to the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) on the plant health system in the potato sector. EU Food and Veterinary Office (EU FVO) is expected to conduct an audit mission to BiH to evaluate the implementation of the monitoring program in 2013.

FARMA, in cooperation with the BiH Plant Health Administration, intends to organize evaluation of the phytosanitary control and the general system of surveillance of harmful organisms in the potato sector in order to identify potential areas that are not in compliance with EU standards and recommend an action plan to make improvements.

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