U.S. Agriculture Specialists Conduct Training on Plant Pest Risks

A risk analyst and an export coordinator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service conducted training in plant pest risk analysis, mitigation, and communication for Pakistan’s Department of Plant Protection officials and other stakeholders. The training was part of an international collaboration to support the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to expand trade in agricultural commodities. The goals were to expand the knowledge of Pakistan’s plant health regulatory and scientific officials and to foster collaboration between USDA and Pakistan’s plant health officials.

USDA export coordinator Ms. Lottie Erikson remarked, “the Government of Pakistan has made incredible strides in recent years to increase the value and quality of exported agricultural commodities. USDA is pleased to support the Department of Plant Protection’s efforts to expand its staff and strengthen its skills.”

USDA risk analyst Mr. Walter Gutierrez described the importance of a plant pest risk analysis, saying, “the purpose of phytosanitary regulations is to protect a country’s domestic agriculture and that of its trading partners. To accomplish safe trade, imported and exported products must be free of pests and diseases. In Pakistan, the Department of Plant Protection must determine the risk of potential pests and diseases that may be present in traded commodities through plant pest risk analysis. The analysis should be based on sound science, credible, and defendable.”

Agriculture is Pakistan’s second largest sector, accounting for more than 21 percent of GDP. It remains by far the largest employer, with 46 percent of the labor force working in the sector. For the nearly 62 percent of the Pakistani population in rural areas, agriculture is a vital part of daily life. USDA supports Pakistani scientists and farmers to enhance agricultural productivity in Pakistan, support economic objectives, and meet food security needs.