Zimbabwean exporters will soon be better equipped to meet health and safety standards in international markets, following an announcement by the European Union that it would provide €950,000 to the International Trade Centre (ITC) to strengthen the country’s national sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) framework.
Even when tariff barriers in a given market are low, an inability to prove compliance with rules such as those specifying acceptable pesticide residue levels can prevent otherwise-competitive developing country producers from exporting. The Strengthening Zimbabwe’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Framework project is seen as crucial for the country’s businesses to fully enjoy market access under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA), which lowers trade barriers with the EU.
To address these issues ITC with will work with the EU and local partners to strengthen the capacity of key sanitary and phytosanitary-related institutions in Zimbabwe, and boost the capacity of the country’s producers to comply with standards and technical regulations.
ITC will intervene at multiple levels. An initial focus will be on improving knowledge of technical and sanitary and phytosanitary export requirements among producers and local authorities. Inspection agencies will be strengthened and government testing laboratories built or upgraded to ensure that they are able to ensure the correct application of sanitary and phytosanitary practices across Zimbabwe.