Agriculture is the lynch-pin of Pakistan’s economy but we need to redefine and reprioritize the broader parameters of agricultural production in order to turn around the fortunes of ordinary people of Pakistan. This was stated by Mr. M. Moazzam Ali Khan Jatoi, Minister of State for National Food Security and Research in Islamabad yesterday. He emphasized the dire need for a sharper focus on the improvement of food safety, animal and plant health conditions in the country. Mr. M. Moazzam Ali Khan Jatoi, Minister of State was speaking at a consultative workshop on “National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority Bill”.
The workshop was organized by the National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (NAPHIS) under the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, with the support of the EU funded TRTA II Programme. The main aim of the workshop was to present and discuss the National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority Bill which is one of the main outputs of the NAPHIS project. The workshop was held at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad Monday 11 June 2012
Current legislation and institutional framework for official controls of food safety, animal health and plant health are inadequate and not sufficiently coherent to address the wide variety of challenges faced by Pakistan’s agro-food sector. The main failure is the lack of an integrated system of official Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls at the Federal and Provincial levels.
The Government of Pakistan is therefore seeking to define a new approach to SPS management and controls. NAPHIS, with the support of the EU funded Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme (TRTAII), has prepared a draft Bill which will (a) provide a national legal framework for SPS regulatory controls, and (b) establish a new Federal body, the National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority (NFSAPHRA). The new Authority will provide an integrated national system of official controls for food safety/animal health/plant health and its related aspects i.e. monitor SPS conditions and levels of compliance with technical regulations. It is proposed that this new Authority will:
- Provide unitary coordination of national system of official controls for food safety/animal health/plant health
- Make national risk management decisions in these areas
- Propose/support development of model technical regulations
- Provide advice and guidance to Provincial Competent authorities (e.g. inspection guidelines, national campaigns)
- Monitor SPS conditions and levels of compliance with technical regulations
- Coordinate plant health/animal health/food safety linkages
- Ensure compliance with national legislation of imported and exported food products
- Implement integrated SPS border inspection system (risk based)
- Establish links with relevant authorities in export markets, and suppliers of imports
- Liaise with international bodies (e.g. Codex Alimentarius/IPPC/OIE); secretariat to National Committees
The proposed functions are not only in relation to import and export, but also in relation to provincial coordination and inter-provincial trade (in line with the Federal List) and in line with the Constitution of Pakistan, post 18th Amendment. The NFSAPHRA will link with and coordinate the newly nominated Provincial SPS Competent Authorities (for example the Punjab Food Safety Authority Act was passed in July 2011, KP and Sindh have announced an intention to follow).
A copy of the draft National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority Bill was distributed and participants were invited to submit comments to NAPHIS by the 15th July 2012.