SPC to continue support to Melanesian countries in biosecurity and trade facilitation

12 April 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva –

Speaking at a Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Customs and Quarantine Subcommittee meeting held in Vanuatu recently, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Market Access Specialist Josua Wainiqolo made it clear that SPC will continue to provide assistance through its Land Resources Division to Melanesian countries in improving biosecurity issues and increasing trade in agricultural and forestry products.

SPC has assisted MSG members and other Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) over the years by providing training on biosecurity issues, assisting them to develop biosecurity regulations and set up and equip biosecurity facilities, and undertaking import risk analyses on commodities.

Mr Wainiqolo said that the MSG Secretariat had proposed to the subcommittee that SPC continue to be the frontline agency for direct support to MSG members on quarantine issues, including bilateral quarantine agreements.

‘The MSG Secretariat and SPC are finalising a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in areas including trade facilitation and biosecurity,’ he said.

He added, ‘With assistance from the Pacific Regional Economic Integration Programme (PACREIP), SPC assisted four MSG member countries to set up biosecurity information facilities with equipment and training.’

SPC will continue to provide technical and scientific advice on import risk analysis for livestock and livestock products to Fiji regarding the import of frozen poultry from Brazil and sheep, goats and dairy cattle from New Zealand.

SPC recently assisted Solomon Islands on import risk analysis for five vegetables from Papua New Guinea and facilitated Fiji’s discussion with Australia and New Zealand biosecurity authorities on fresh taro export conditions.

Similarly, SPC assisted Vanuatu with gaining market access for island cabbage and Polynesian plum, and provided support to Fiji to build inter-island trade between Rotuma and Tuvalu.

A total of 14 customs and quarantine officers from MSG member countries attended the meeting at MSG headquarters in Vanuatu from 7 to 9 March 2012.

Photo caption [Top left] – SPC/LRD Market Access Specialist- Josua Wainiqolo discussing market access issues with Vanuatu Abattoirs Limited  GM -Paul Smith.
Photo caption [Bottom right] – Participants of meeting.