The Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday held a stakeholders’ meeting with representatives from the agencies concerned with the execution of quarantine laws and practices and the ministry’s consultant says quarantine systems need to be better manned.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, the meeting also served to lead the agencies and the ministry towards a unified approach.
The Seeds Bill, the Animal Health Bill and the Plant Protection Bill set basic guidelines in food and plant production practices, the release said.
The stakeholders were engaged in open discussion on these bills as well as the challenges facing the country in ensuring food protection and the steps that should be taken forward.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud told the stakeholders that the ministry was happy to pull the different entities together to facilitate their cooperation.
The issue of plant and animal health protection is not only a task for the ministry but also requires the active support of the different agencies, he said, as well as those who work in the different agencies, ports of land and sea.
The quarantine practices are not only significant to export but also important for personal livelihood, he said.
Minister Persaud told the stakeholders that if Guyana’s plant and animal health system can be infiltrated and endangered by pest and diseases, it will jeopardize its exports. Failure to implement the proper quarantine arrangements can see the country being blacklisted and produce denied access to those markets, he said.
Putting the correct quarantine practices in places is essential to ensuring that Guyana’s exports continue to enjoy markets.
The quarantine arrangements also allow the country to maintain the sanitary requirements and protocol mandates of the different trade organisations to which the country is a signatory, including World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change ( I.P.P.C.)
Meanwhile, consultant within the Ministry of Agriculture Diversification Programme, William Marsam, presented a power-point presentation on the state of quarantine practices in the country.
He told the group that although the quarantine systems are in place at most of the country’s air and land ports, they are not properly manned and persons enter the country with products that could be carrying diseases. Likewise the illegal crossings in and out of Guyana allow for the entry of diseases into the country.
Marsam emphasised the need to change the system, illustrating what should be done at the different quarantine ports, the release added.