STDF MRL projects showcased during WTO SPS Committee
During the WTO SPS Committee on November 7, STDF held a knowledge event for 150 SPS delegates highlighting work to plug pesticide data gaps to boost developing country exports. The dialogue at the event centred on the impact on tropical fruit and vegetable farmers when pesticides cause trade concerns, given that few Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) exist for their crops. Plus, MRLs can differ from Codex standards or for different trading partners.
Following a 2019 evaluation of STDF’s MRL projects in 17 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, the panellists showcased the dynamic public-private sector partnerships and impact being scaled up, which is supporting farmers to use new-generation pesticides. This has added benefits for agricultural productivity, the environment and consumer safety.
Sustainability snapshot: STDF projects continue to drive regional and global collaboration
“In Africa, the STDF project encouraged and supported regional harmonization on pesticide MRLs by the EAC. ECOWAS is keen to replicate these experiences, showing the project’s catalytic effect.” John Oppong-Otoo, AU-IBAR
“In October 2019, 34 Ministers from across the Americas endorsed a new resolution on MRLs calling for collaborative action to reduce the impact of NTBs on trade. The technical work carried out under STDF’s regional MRL projects contributed towards these global objectives.” Julia Doherty, Deputy Assistant, U.S. Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs
“Partnerships are essential to bring together public and private sector stakeholders to respond to the challenge. COLEACP is keen to engage with the Global Minor Use Foundation, catalysed by the STDF projects.” Morag Webb, COLEACP
What’s coming up on MRLs: helping farmers to access pest control tools and technologies
Worldwide, there are increasing demands to generate pesticide residue data, while the costs of residue studies and efficacy trials are also rising. Meeting the quality and criteria for the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues to propose new MRLs remains a challenge. With 600+ MRLs up for review in 2020, improving knowledge and capacity in the public and private sector is key so that available resources are used most effectively.
Moving forward, the legacy set up under STDF’s projects continues to support developing countries in facilitating safe trade and meeting international standards for tropical crops.
- New pesticide data generation projects are underway or planned in the regions
- Work is progressing to align pesticide registration systems and MRL adoption practices
- Global Minor Use Foundation is rolling out wider solutions for developing countries
Get involved and find out more: STDFSecretariat@wto.org