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fully from market access opportunities in trade agreements, while at the same time providing greater protection for human and animal health, animal welfare and reducing the risks linked to zoonoses (OIE, 2004; Thomson et al., 2006). It is of utmost importance that the ongoing initiatives from OIE and others to support veterinary services, in particular in developing countries, continue. OIE emphasizes the need for veterinary services to support access of animals and their products into national markets, indicating the importance of animal health control in a safe and secure food supply. A challenging factor is the limited availability of veterinarians trained in veterinary public health (WHO, 2002b), which in developing countries has opened discussions on the need of paraprofessionals such as community animal health workers (Scoones and Wolmer, 2006). Priority setting for disease control technologies

diseases, and also allowing import from individual countries or regions based on their improvement of the animal health status food products (DG SANCO, 2006). However, these policies require a reliable and independent system of certification based on international standards (Thomson et al., 2006).

Historically significant resources have been directed towards tools to implement eradication policies and research often focuses on the production of a vaccine that simply should be the key to success. These resources are also often directed to diseases that gain special attention in relation to international trade but that might be of less economic importance in an endemic situation in a developing country (Scoones and Wolmer 2006). However, effective vaccines are available only for a limited number of infections and therefore preventive actions need to come into focus. Many important diseases have been successfully controlled through the application of simple, preventive hygienic methods; a "bottom-up" approach to priority setting can therefore be recommended (Scoones and Wolmer, 2006). Recommending that milk be boiled prior to consumption in South Africa could more simply and cheaply limit human health risks due to Brucellosis than a comprehensive vaccination control program in a cattle population where the disease caused relatively limited production losses (Mokaila, 2005).

7.3.3 Plant health

Food availability depends in the first instance on the actual production of food, which is influenced by agroecological production potential as well as by available production technologies and input and output markets (FAO, 2005b). Plant pests are key constraints to achieving the true yield potential of food and fiber crops, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions where conditions necessary for the reproduction of pests may be present year-round (FAO, 2005c). In addition to their direct and deleterious effect on the yield and quality of plant products, plant pests can also pose an absolute barrier to imports when countries apply phytosanitary measures to regulate the entry or plants, plant products or others materials capable of harboring plant pests. The challenge of international phytosanitary standards

International phytosanitary standards recognized as authoritative by the SPS Agreement can be a positive driver in developing countries. When applied to high value food products, these have played a beneficial role in stimulating improvements to existing regulatory systems and the adoption of safer and more sustainable production practices (World Bank, 2005). More commonly, however, interna-


tional phytosanitary standards are considered as barriers to trade that particularly discriminate against developing country stakeholders who can neither afford to meet the high costs of compliance associated with these nor participate effectively in their development by international standard setting bodies like the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) (e.g., Simeon, 2006). Governments, institutions and farmers may respond to such standards in a number of ways: support or participate in programs that will address the management of the pest problem; find alternative foreign markets for nationally produced goods; focus on increasing domestic demand for trade-prohibited plants and products; or exit production, with or without compensation and/or incentives to promote diversification into other crops.

     Governments generally divide resources applied to address phytosanitary considerations in two ways: (1) to meet the phytosanitary requirements of importing countries (export certification); and (2) to meet domestic phytosanitary requirements, including those applied to imported agricultural products. In both developed and developing countries these regulatory tasks are typically addressed through an array of plant protection and quarantine (PPQ) programs. Core services of traditional PPQ programs include activities such as: detection and control or management of plant pests of quarantine or economic significance; undertaking pest risk analyses; and managing import, export and/or domestic certification programs. These programs are being challenged by increases in the volume and kinds of agricultural products being traded internationally, the number of countries exporting such products, and international travel which creates more opportunities for the rapid introduction and spread of new pest species (FAO, 2003). Opportunities through regionalism

For some countries, particularly those with limited resources applied to national PPQ programs, regional or subregional programs may be a workable alternative. Regional initiatives to harmonize standards where trade between the participating member countries for specific plant products is significant and where an international standard is not needed (i.e., a different, less restrictive or less economically punitive standard will suffice). Regional pooling of scientific resources (human and institutional) to collectively manage plant pests and implement surveillance programs can enable developing countries to meet the surveillance and pest risk assessments required for compliance with import requirements. Surveillance data is important to ensure that domestic phytosanitary measures are equivalent to those applied to imported commodities so that discrimination against imports based on pest exclusion is not supported. Efforts to collect these data for key pests that affect movement of plant material from or within a specific region may be best addressed by establishing harmonized protocols for data collection and then pooling resources to acquire the necessary information to demonstrate pest-free status. Initiatives to promote meaningful, results-based regional cooperation to address plant health issues will require incentives to promote cooperation both within and between national agricultural systems. Where regional regulatory programs may be government to government, these should also actively