23 May 2016 – 45 African biosecurity champions from ten Central and East African countries will meet in Arusha, Tanzania for two weeks from today for the second Africa Plant Biosecurity Network meeting, targeting plant protection from pests and disease.

The Network brings African biosecurity professionals together to share information, provide ongoing mentoring, and boost training and outreach, with the aim of improving national and regional plant biosecurity, lifting crop yields and enabling safe trade.

An initiative of the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership, the Network is led by 15 Senior Biosecurity Fellows who have undertaken plant protection training in Australia and Africa, and will use the Network to pass on their skills and knowledge to 30 Associate Fellow colleagues.

“The Senior Fellows spent a very fruitful six weeks in Australia last year, with targeted training as well as work placements in plant protection organisations around the country,” said Dr Roger Day, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Coordinator with CABI.

“Training covered areas such as pest identification, surveillance, virus testing and fruit fly management. Through the network, Senior Fellows are able to share their experiences with colleagues in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

Katemani Mdili, a Plant Quarantine Inspector with TanzaniaÂ’s Ministry of Agriculture, was one of three Senior Fellows who studied the range of fruit fly management options used in Australia.

“As well as seeing the research underway on fruit fly behaviour, the Network gave me practical techniques and measures for fruit fly control that we can implement in Tanzania, as well as a good understanding of surveillance systems and the importance of public awareness,” he said.

Areas to be covered in the latest workshop include:

  • Principles and practice of plant biosecurity
  • Plant biosecurity negotiations for market access
  • Regional plant biosecurity problems, including fruit flies and Panama disease
  • FellowsÂ’ biosecurity action planning
  • Monitoring and evaluation

“Improving plant biosecurity practice in Africa can have major flow-on effects, from expanded regional and international trade all the way down to benefits for individual farmers,” said Bill Magee, Plant Biosecurity CRC project leader.

The Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership is led by AustraliaÂ’s Plant Biosecurity CRC and funded by the AIFSRC within ACIAR and CABI. The program is being delivered by a consortium of the Plant Biosecurity CRC, ACIAR, CABI and the Crawford Fund.

More information is available at
Watch the AAPBP video and follow the Network on Twitter: #AAPBP

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Photo copyright: Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre