Uganda holds workshop on the Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) framework for prioritisation of SPS capacity building options
The MCDA framework is the mechanism through which the secretariat will continue to track progress with harmonisation of SPS measures and the identification of capacity gaps that need individual and collective actions by COMESA `member states
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the workshop, Ugandan State Minister for fisheries, Honourable Ruth Nankabirwa, said she was very happy to realise that her country is one of the COMESA member states that have started the process of identifying SPS capacity gaps and reviewed interventions.
“I am happy to see that Uganda is among the few pioneers of this process and that the workshop draws representation from all key sectors, including the private sector. The fact that the process has identified capacity building options in the fish sub is very exciting for me as the Minister responsible for fisheries”, Honourable Nankabirwa said. The minister commended the COMESA secretariat and the United States Government for convening the workshop and emphasised that this should be the beginning of sustained efforts to address SPS capacity gaps across several sub sectors.
And speaking at the same function, Director of Investment Promotion and Private Sector Development – IPPSD at the COMESA secretariat, Thierry Kalonji reassured the Minister and the government of Uganda that COMESA will continue to support institutionalisation of the tool and development of projects around the identified capacity gaps at both the national and regional levels.
“ Honourable Minister, COMESA will not stop the implementation of programmes that support institutionalisation of the SPS and the development of these identified projects in our member states so that we can reduce the capacity gaps that are apparent in these programmes and projects”, Kalonji echoed.
He added, “This initiative falls under the SPS capacity strengthening programme of COMESA which seeks to enhance the capacity of the public and private sector institutions of Member States in order to gain and maintain regional and international market access for food and agricultural products.”
Mr. Kalonji said there is need for COMESA to fast track the establishment of appropriate capacity building priorities at National levels and harmonization of SPS measures at the regional level in order to remove SPS barriers that affect intra regional trade.
“ Honourable minister, a key challenge for Uganda and COMESA countries in general has been establishing appropriate capacity at national level whilst harmonising SPS measures at regional level to remove SPS barriers to intra regional trade”, He said.
He said it is for this reason that COMESA undertook to facilitate institutionalisation of the MCDA as the tool to aid decision making on SPS capacity building priorities as well as provide an effective mechanism for tracking the harmonisation of SPS measures at national and regional levels.
The five day workshop which started on the 30th of July 2012 in Kampala resulted into the formulation of a local task team which has been duly trained in the MCDA tool and will work closely with the secretariat to continue analyzing and re-prioritising SPS capacity building options and regulatory reform needs.
Ranking highly among the capacity building options, includes pesticide testing capacity, biological control for aflotoxin management, mycotoxin testing, good agricultural practices for Maize and oil seeds, cold storage for fresh produce and fish, banana diseases, agro-inputs certification, meat exports to the region and EU, dairy exports to the region, and fish products traceability.
In addition, the emerging priorities for pilot countries will be subjected to further analysis to determine commonalities and capacity-building options for regionally harmonised SPS measures.