Government Increases Remote Phytosanitary ControlBy Jan Hogewoning | Tue, 07/21/2020 - 19:58
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), its sub-entity, the National Service of Health, Safety and Agro-Food Quality (Senasica) has been employing digital channels to process procedures, carry out inspections, and provide technical training to producers. The COVID-19 epidemic has forced governments to consider new methods of carrying out essential services while at the same time reducing the physical contact between individuals, and this is one example of a solution. The challenges to phytosanitary control and the new tools developed were discussed by representatives of different Latin American phytosanitary government agencies in a virtual meeting last week organized by the Interamerican Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA).
The Director of SENASICA, Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, indicated during the meeting that the federal government has been using remote instructional meetings to provide training to farmers and registered ranchers participating in government programs, La Jornada reports. The director stated that the new model has been successful, and as a result, it intends to install it permanently. The agency has also increased the use of the International Phytosanitary Certificate for commodities traded internationally. In addition, it can now carry out in a remote manner the reviewal of documents of agro-produce entering the country in 60 percent of total requests. The agency intends to take it a step further by implementing video verification in Inspection Type Facilities (TIF). These video verifications will be carried out by the agency’s official doctors. These facilities are vital for export processes to growing markets, such as Mexican meat exports to Asia.
Mexico is not the only country adopting more technology in its phytosanitary control. Argentina, Chili and Peru are using digital certifications to facilitate trade between them. The president of the Southern Cone Plant Health Committee (COSAVE), César de la Cruz, indicated during the meeting that it is now looking to integrate more countries in this system. Meanwhile, the representative of Animal Health of Costa Rica, Silvia Niño, indicated that more than 40 percent of the jobs in that country have been supported by the use of technologies, without neglecting physical inspections and the control of pests and diseases.
Apart from assuring the continuation of phytosanitary control, La Jornada reports that agencies have also been active in assuring the public that COVID-19 is not carried by food. The Food Safety Coordinator of Ecuador, Rommel Betancourt, highlighted his agency’s awareness campaign in his respective country.