Questions and Answers

Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership
Questions and Answers

What are the aims of the initiative?
 

  • Poor capacity to manage the spread  of significant plant pests and diseases in eastern Africa limits farmer incomes and food security, and is an obstacle to regional trade in agricultural products. 
     
  • The Australian-Africa Biosecurity Partnership aims to use the world class skills and expertise of Australian plant biosecurity institutions and agencies to build skills and capacity of middle level managers and decision makers involved in plant biosecurity control in eastern Africa. 
     
  • Enhanced skills and capacity will help address regional plant pest and disease issues, facilitate safer intra-African and international trade in plant products, and thereby the livelihood of farmers.

What is the origin of the initiative?
 

  • The initiative was established in response to requests from African stakeholders of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) – within the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) – who noted that:
      
    • intra-regional trade is a key pathway to food security in Africa – poor biosecurity control capacity is a significant obstacle to trade in  agricultural products, and can therefore limit income of farmers.
    • the expertise of Australian biosecurity agencies could be levered to build African capacity to address plant biosecurity problems and help facilitate safer trade

Who is funding and delivering the initiative?
 

  • The AIFSRC is providing $A0.8m over two years toward the initiative and a consortium led by Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will deliver activities.
     
  • The consortium includes the CSIRO, the Crawford Fund and the African arm of CAB International. Members of the consortium have extensive experience in plant biosecurity and capacity building and the CRC has an array of plant biosecurity partners who could contribute to the initiative.
     
  • CAB International are providing an additional $A200k toward the initiative as it believes that enhanced biosecurity skills and capacity will directly complement existing  plant biosecurity activities and priorities it has in place in Africa.
       
  • Extra funding or in-kind support is expected to be leveraged from other national and multilateral agencies and the private sector.

What and where will activities be delivered under the initiative?

  • Activities under the initiative include:
     
    • short-term placements of African biosecurity specialists in relevant biosecurity Australian agencies and related institutions;
    • workshops in Africa on priority plant biosecurity issues;
    • a mentoring system for African participants to ensure transfer and application of knowledge; and
    • follow up funding to assist participants develop biosecurity action plans at national and regional level in Africa.
        
  • The initiative is aimed at individuals and institutions within target eastern Africa countries and the region as a whole. Target countries include: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
      
  • The initiative commenced with a regional prioritisation workshop in October 2014. The prioritisation workshop ensured African plant biosecurity priorities and needs were identified and matched with Australian capacity building expertise. Workshop invitees included officials from target countries, African trade and regional agencies, multilateral aid agencies, and – importantly – the private sector.
  • The Partnership held its first Africa Networking Workshop on 18-20 August in Nairobi, Kenya, with fifteen senior fellows and 30 associate fellows from National Plant Protection Organisations and private sector agricultural organisations in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

  • Short-term placements of Senior Fellows in Australian plant pest and disease agencies is scheduled for October - December 2015.

How does the initiative fit with Australian foreign aid priorities?
 

  • The initiative contributes to the Australian Government’s focus on aid for trade and economic growth. It will improve agricultural productivity and sustainability, strengthen agricultural value chains and help overcome regulatory impediments, while building capacity for agricultural innovation in Africa.
       
  • Biosecurity is a global challenge; if our expertise can help developing nations with crop protection and export opportunities, then Australia and other nations will benefit from a stronger global biosecurity system aimed at reducing the  international the spread and establishment of pests and diseases. 

Where can I get more information about the initiative?
 

Back to Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership.