An online sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) distance learning course, in which CABI has played a key role, is now globally available in English, Spanish and French through the Agrilinks website.

The Food Safety Network (FSN) recently released the first three of 14 SPS online training courses on plant pest surveillance, plant pest identification systems, and plant pest inspections which were originally available in English and Urdu and launched in a project created to help bolster agricultural exports from Pakistan.

The training modules provide knowledge on the importance of plant health in driving international trade and protecting countries and consumers from pests and diseases. The courses can help quarantine officials, extension services, the private sector, development agencies and others to understand and apply sound scientific principles of risk analysis to address plant health issues.

Babar Bajwa, CABI’s Regional Director – Central and West Asia, said, ‘We have been working with USDA and Texas A&M University since 2011 on this distance learning project which initially sought to support the Government of Pakistan in their efforts to increase agricultural trade.

‘The project was successful in advancing Pakistan’s adoption of international plant health standards by training 30 Department of Plant Protection officials and other Pakistani agricultural professionals.

‘Its success means that the SPS Distance Learning Modules are now a key component of the Food Safety Network and I am delighted that its reach will go much further than where it was initially intended. It is vital that programmes like this reach as many quarantine officials as possible if we are to help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – particularly though relating to Zero Hunger, No Poverty and Responsible Consumption and Production.’

The Food Safety Network (FSN) is a US government interagency collaboration between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote the link among food safety, food security, and trade along agricultural value chains.

Find out more about the SPS Plant Health Distance Learning Modules here.

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