Training improves biosecurity in Samoa

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F) Quarantine Division has held a three-day training in a bid to improve quality service and to protect Samoa from biosecurity risks.

The training was held at the Taumeasina Island Resort from 9-11 September according to a statement issued by the Ministry.

The training was organised and delivered by experts from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, PHAMA Plus, VSA NZ Ministry of Primary Industry and the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

It is sponsored by the European Union as part of the Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Security Initiative to COVID-19 (PRISCO19) project and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division.

The main purpose of the training is to improve and build up the capacity of all staff currently employed within the division, especially those who joined the division during ongoing recruiting of new staff.

“The devastating effect of COVID 19 on human health in other parts of the world is the perfect example to demonstrates why we need to stop these dangerous diseases from entering our beautiful country Samoa," reads the Ministry's statement.

"But this important challenge is not limited to people. It includes stopping harmful pests and diseases that affect not only people but also all other animals and plants that we depend on not only for food and income but to safeguard our precious and pristine environment,” the statement reads.

“Diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF), Highly Pathogenic Influenza Virus (HPAI) and others are always threatening to enter Samoa’s borders. Stopping them from entering is essential because failing to do so will increase the vulnerabilities to our resources, our environment, and all other sectors of our society as a whole. 

"Protecting Samoa from these has always been one of the key priorities of the MAF Quarantine Division.”

According to the statement, biosecurity is a critical part of the Government’s efforts to prevent, respond to and recover from pests and diseases that threaten the economy and environment.

“It is therefore important to adapt and improve the effectiveness of our Biosecurity services to protect our environment and keep out diseases that could devastate our crops, livestock industry and human health,” the statement reads.

The Ministry then acknowledged the continuous assistance and collaboration courtesy of the S.P.C Land Resource Division, European Union and the facilitators from the Australia DAWE, PHAMA Plus and NZ VSA MPI for sharing their expertise, providing technical advice and conducting the training for Biosecurity staff.

“A very fruitful deliberation among biosecurity officers to identify and address any gaps in the work of biosecurity and provide remedial actions where necessary to protect Samoa free from these harmful pests, diseases and invasive species,” the statement reads.

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