ISLAMABAD – Agriculture is the lynchpin of Pakistan’s economy and there is dire need to redefine and reprioritise the broader parameters of agricultural production to change the fortunes of ordinary people of the country.
This was stated by M Moazzam Ali Khan Jatoi, Minister of State for National Food Security and Research, here at a consultative workshop on ‘National Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Authority Bill’ on Monday where he emphasised the need for a sharper focus on the improvement of food safety, animal and plant health conditions in the country.
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 National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (NAPHIS) project.
He said that 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.
He said that the Government of Pakistan is therefore seeking to define a new approach to SPS management and controls.
National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (NAPHIS) with the support of the EU funded Trade Related Technical Assistance Programme (TRTAII), has prepared a draft Bill which will provide a national legal framework for SPS regulatory controls, and 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 which are to monitor SPS conditions and levels of compliance with technical regulations.
During the workshop it was proposed that this new Authority would provide unitary coordination of national system of official controls for food safety/animal health/plant health and make national risk management decisions in these areas.
It was also decided that development of model technical regulations would also be supported and advice and guidance would be provided to Provincial Competent authorities.
The authority would coordinate plant health/animal health/food safety linkages and ensure compliance with national legislation of imported and exported food products. New authority would establish links with relevant authorities in export markets, and suppliers of imports and liaise with international bodies (Codex Alimentarius /IPPC/OIE) secretariat to national committees.