Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn (FP)??

Barbados can no longer address its food security, agricultural health and safety issues without adherence to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) procedures!

This assertion has come from Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, who has warned that "failure to do so in an environment of increasing trade liberalisation and common international standards can potentially place the health of our nation, our potential to export, as well as Barbados’ reputation at risk."

Minister Benn was addressing a workshop on "Good Practices for Participation in SPS Forums" hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.?? He lamented the low-level of participation by CARICOM countries at international fora such as the World Trade Organisation Committee Meetings on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which were held in Geneva, due to limited resources.

"Faced with increasing globalisation, issues associated with food safety and agricultural health are now very relevant and of serious concern to all countries.?? It is [therefore] imperative that we keep abreast of developments within the international arena that determine the standards that our products must attain, in order to be able to compete with the rest of the world," the Agriculture Minister maintained.

Emphasising that the time had come for Barbados to enhance and give greater support to intra-regional trade, Senator Benn underlined that his Ministry remained committed to the conducting of pest risk analyses as a means of facilitating trade and the availability of safe food.

"To this end (the Ministry of Agriculture) has established protocols with a number of our Caribbean neighbours, with trips being made to these countries annually to ensure the conditions of the protocols are adhered to.

"As Small Island Developing States with limited resources, it will be important that the countries of the region build the capacity to address SPS issues through the provision of the necessary training by the international community," the Agriculture Minister stressed.

He further added that there was also the need for Barbados to "borrow" some of the SPS techniques that had already been adopted by the developed countries, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel.

"As SPS and other technical barriers become more common place within international trade, it is important that we understand how to effectively use these measures," Senator Benn charged.

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