The EU funded Twinning Project "Further strengthening of capacities of phytosanitary sector in the fields of plant protection products, plant health and seeds and seedlings, including phytosanitary laboratories and phytosanitary inspections”, implemented in Bosnia and Hercegovina by Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Policies in partnership with State Inspectorate for Plant Health and Seed Inspection of Poland, with Informest acting as Mandated Body, has achieved several important results.

Few data can help to easily show these achievements. During the 15 months of project implementation 54 missions were carried out by experts and 3 study visits to Italy and Poland were organized. Nine benchmarks have been already achieved out of 63 and 24 are in the process of completion.

The work performed aims at aligning the regulatory requirements and standards of the phytosanitary sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina to European Union acquis communautaire. The majority of the work was devoted to plant health issues. In this area, a manual with procedures for the phytosanitary inspectors was prepared together with guidelines for surveillance and monitoring of quarantine pests. The diagnostics skills of laboratory staff were improved through a series of trainings and delivery of analytical procedures for all groups of harmful organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes). Legal provisions and guidelines were prepared to establish a system for the protection of breeders’ rights and for the definition of a seed certification system according to the OECD schemes. An array of guidelines for the implementation of integrated pest management methods (IPM) were developed involving a working group of local experts from Universities and Research Institutes. Finally, legal provisions and procedures were prepared to established a simplified system for the registration of plant protection products.

Several workshops and seminars were conducted, among them some also aimed at increasing the awareness of the operators and the public to some phytosanitary risks. Two technical leaflets were also printed dealing with emerging phytosanitary threats (the insect Dryocosmus kuriphilus and the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa), which together with other materials, documents and presentations were made available to the stakeholders also through the project website (http://eufitobih.eu).

During the study visits conducted in the BiH staff had the opportunity to directly experience the methods and procedures for phytosanitary controls and the laboratory analyses as well as to verify the functioning of the seed and seedling material certification system in EU. The project organized also a stand for Bosnia Hercegovina at the international fair MACFRUT, held in Rimini, presenting to a world-wide audience its activities and promoting the exchanges between BiH and EU stakeholders.

It is believed that the project will further assist the integration of BiH legal provisions in the following months, thus strongly supporting the country in the current effort of joining the EU, which was formally notified to the EU Commission in February 2016.



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