The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is supporting Namibia to review and refine its laws regulating plant quarantine and management of fertilisers, animal feed and agricultural remedies.

Stakeholders gathered in Keetmanshoop recently for a workshop on regional consultations of gap analysis reports and the outline of the bills, hosted by the agriculture ministry with support from the FAO.

The consultations form part of a two-year technical cooperation programme (TCP) between the FAO and the ministry called “Support to the revision of legislations regulating plant quarantine and the management of fertilisers, animal feed and agricultural remedies”.

Speaking at the workshop, the chief regional officer of the ||Karas regional council, Benedictus Diergaardt, said the current national legislations are outdated and that there is a need to review these acts.

International standards

Diergaardt said outdated legislation such as the Namibia Plant Quarantine Act of 2008 is one of the acts that need to be reviewed and brought in line with international standards.

“As the main plant protection legal and institutional framework of the country, this act needs its provisions to be aligned with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) standards,” he said.

He further highlighted other legislations such as the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act 36 of 1947, which he also described as outdated and in need of review to ensure the formulation of a renewed legislation on pesticide management and feed safety and quality.

“While Namibia has many pieces of legislation for the management of chemicals, these are fragmented, and therefore effective implementation and enforcement are often a big challenge. There is thus a need to develop a framework legislation for pesticide management to overcome this challenge,” said Diergaardt.

Current conditions

The ministry’s deputy director of agricultural production, extension and engineering services, Erich Petrus, also said the identified acts are outdated and in serious need of review and alignment with current international instruments.

“It was established that some of these acts are outdated; one of the acts, for example, is dated 1947, so therefore, some of these acts are not reflecting current conditions and are not in line with international instruments,” said Petrus.

Lead technical officer in the FAO legal office, Nagris Bozorova, underscored that the workshop’s main aim is to prioritise the development of appropriate legislation and revise the structure of the Plant Health Bill based on stakeholder recommendations.

Around 40 participants comprised of stakeholders from various public and private institutions and NGOs such as the Namibia National Farmers Union, the Namibia Agricultural Union, Meatco, the Meat Board of Namibia, justice ministry, ||Karas regional council; directorate of veterinary services, National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, Namibia Standards Institute, Coopers Environmental, the University of Namibia, and the Namibia University of Science and Technology attended the workshop.

[Source – Rebublikein]

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