Connecting government and industry for better trade outcomes
Plants and plant products are central to sustaining lives, livelihoods and landscapes. Some may debate the positive and negative contributions of global food trade to these themes, but there should be no doubt that trade in horticultural food crops makes a vital contribution to food security. Access to new plant species or cultivars also leads to improved yield and pest resistance, and thereby sustains livelihoods by making producers more productive and competitive. Achieving the benefits from trade in plants and plant products is often limited by biosecurity import regulatory systems, particularly processes for pest risk analysis and the establishment of phytosanitary measures. Government biosecurity agencies need to appreciate that they are dealing with a sophisticated, connected, and increasingly multinational food industry that requires consistency and certainty in its supply chain, and must be able to quickly respond to changing trade patterns and climatic events by accessing new supply countries, export markets and plant germplasm. At the same time, regulatory agencies have an obligation to protect producers and the environment from biosecurity risks associated with trade in plants and plant products. Protecting biosecurity and the environment while facilitating trade is an achievable goal, but it requires new thinking by industries and regulatory agencies. Considering industry simply as stakeholders fails to acknowledge that the efficiency and effectiveness of risk analysis processes can be improved by industry and government agencies connecting to better communicate risks, prioritise trade access, and to establish phytosanitary measures that are cost effective, feasible and least trade restrictive.
Ogden, S.C. 2015. Connecting government and industry for better trade outcomes. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1105:357-364
biosecurity policy, risk communication, risk analysis, food security