Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Activities: Philippine Setting By: GILBERTO F. LAYESE Director, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards Department of Agriculture, Philippines
Philippine SPS Thrust • The country’s Department of Agriculture has lined up its thrust with the aims of the international organizations in promulgating food safety , animal and plant health programmes. • The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) of 1997 also known as RA 8435 “prescribes urgent related measures to modernize the agriculture and fisheries sectors of the country in order to enhance their profitability, and prepare said sectors for the challenges of globalization through an adequate, focused and rational delivery of necessary support services.”
Regulatory Agencies in the Philippines Concerned in Ensuring Food, Plant and Animal Safety • Bureau of Plant Industry • Primary task:promotes the development of plant industries through research and development, crop production and protection, and effective technology promotion and transfer. • Other tasks: • Protection of agricultural crops from pests and diseases (E.O. 116); • Recommend plant quarantine policies and prescribe rules and regulations for the prevention, control and eradication of pests, diseases and injuries to plants and plant products (E.O. 116);
Other tasks: • As stated in the Plant Quarantine Law (P.D.1433): “Prevent the introduction of exotic pests in the country and prevent further spread of plant pests already existing from infested to pest-free areas and to enforce phytosanitary measures for the export of plants, plant products and regulated articles”; • Establish pesticide laboratories all over the country to monitor levels of pesticide residue in crops in order to protect the local and international consumers from possible health hazards and to generate data for the establishment of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) (L.O.I. 986); • Ensure safe supply of fresh agricultural crops and improve the quality of local fresh agricultural crops and promote its export (R.A. 7394);
Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) • Primary task:forefront of ensuring animal health, as well as food safety and quality. • Other tasks: • Regulate animal feeds, feed ingredients and veterinary products; • Prevent, control, contain and eradicate communicable animal disease; • Ensure effective and efficient implementation and advocacy of the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 and its implementing rules and regulations; • Regulate the flow of animal and animal products;
Other tasks: • Provide laboratory support to other divisions through production of biologics and pharmaceuticals, quality control testing, feeds and feed stuff analyses and drug assay; • Conduct research on animal health, breeding, nutrition, production and management as well as the processing and utilization of feeds, forage and pasture resources; • Regulation of the movement of animals and animal products through the issuance of Veterinary Quarantine Clearance and other permits; • BAI does inspection of products on the basis of quality, safety, good manufacturing practices (GMP)/sanitation, bio-safety, product transport/movement and export/import control within their area of coverage (animals for slaughter).
National Meat Inspection Commission (NMIC) • Primary task:accreditation of quality assessors for slaughter houses. • Other tasks: • Meat Laboratory Services • -linkages with food control laboratory and other local laboratories and organizations concerned with disease control • In-Plant Operation and Inspection Services • -provides technical supervision on meat inspection and meat plant operation designed to ensure the production of clean and wholesome meat in meat establishments; • - manages the certification for local transport of meat and meat products
Other tasks: • Regulatory Services • - manages a systematic evaluation (classification) and computation of rated capacity of meat plant activities and transport vehicles • - directs the agency’s review and compliance activity relating to transport, storage and distribution of meat • Meat Import/Export Services • - ensures that meat and meat products have been produced under condition and system equivalent to the NMIC
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) • Tasks: • Conducts inspection, monitoring and verification of fish processing plants and fish and fishery products for export and import; • Conducts inspection of processing plants for domestic consumption, market and fishing port complex; • Conducts physical, chemical and microbiological analysis of fishery products in support of export and import • Issues commodity clearance and other requirements for fish and fishery products
Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) • Task: • Protect the public from risks inherent in the use of pesticides and educate the agricultural sector in the use of these inputs.
Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) • Primary task:formulate and enforce standards of quality that will ensure human, animal and plant health and safety, competitiveness and efficiency in the marketing and trade of agriculture, livestock and fisheries and aquaculture products. • Other tasks: • provide the organization and manpower expertise to ensure effective preparations and background for government participation in deliberations on international food standards, including those related to the World Trade Organizations (WTO) agreements on SPS Measures and and other standards adopted by FAO and WHO.
Current Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Activities • Technical assistance and capacity building includes all activities undertaken by international organizations such as FAO and the WTO, as well as donor countries in support of the Philippines’ effort to strengthen the food control, animal and plant health systems and programs. • Capacity building includes the dissemination of information, the organization of national and regional workshops, seminars, trainings and similar activities related to improving the general understanding of the SPS Agreement, food safety , animal and plant health.
Illustrative List of TechnicalAssistance Provided to the Philippines • Improving the general understanding of the SPS • Agreement • - Seminar/Workshop on SPS Agreement • - Symposium on notification procedures under • the SPS Agreement • - Seminar on the organization, application and policy • development in phytosanitary issues
Food Safety • - Seminar/Workshop on Hazard Analysis and Critical • Control Point (HACCP) • Seminar on mutual recognition arrangement for • conformity assessment • Training of food specialists • Animal Health • Participation in the regional training on meat • inspection (in Asia) • Seminar/workshop on disease control on fish • and shrimp aquaculture in Southeast Asia • - Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control project
Plant Health • Technical discussions on the fresh fruit entry • protocols • Briefings on developments in Codex on aflatoxin • standards • Pesticide Monitoring System Development Project • Note: Most of the technical assistance provided • were in the form of information dissemination, • technical level training, and “soft” infrastructure • development.
1. Resources needed for obligations and rights - The limited resources of developing countries restrict them in meeting the requirements and to take full advantage of their rights and market access. - It also limits developing countries in participating efficiently in the setting of internationalstandards.
2.Complex conditions - Some importing and developed countries are employing standards that are more stringent than the set standards in the domestic markets as well as the prevailing international standards.
3. Domestic infrastructure - The lack of administrative and legislative coordination pose tremendous drawbacks in the capabilities of the developing countries to comply with SPS measures.
RECOMMENDATIONS • Technical assistance and capacity building are inevitably significant in helping developing countries to exercise their rights and to comply with the requirements under the SPS agreement. Activities that would deepen the understanding of SPS issues by both the public and private sectors involved in agriculture and food industries, should be pursued. Likewise, these activities should strengthen further the confidence of these sectors in implementing the SPS Agreement.
Domestic reforms, including the adoption of science-based strategic food quality management systems such as the HACCP system in the industry is one of the methods by which developed countries could ensure the production of safe and high quality foods that meet the requirements of importing countries. Technical assistance should be directed towards allowing developing countries’ greater access to scientific expertise.
Technical assistance should facilitate access of developing countries to legal expertise and advice, to enhance their effective participation in the WTO dispute settlement procedures. Establishment of institutions such as the ACWL helps realize such an objective. • Technical assistance should also offer tailor made assistance to each country’s needs and improve market access for products with real export potential, instead of focusing on developed country market access needs.
Effective participation of developing countries In the SPS Committee, in international standard- setting organizations and relevant fora, should remain as one of the major goals in designing and implementing technical assistance and capacity building programmes. In relation to this, support should be given to the establish- ment of a trust fund by FAO/WHO to encourage developing countries to actively participate in Codex meetings.