Roadmap to Adopting a Modern Sanitary and Phytosanitary System in Nepal
This report looks at the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues negatively impacting agricultural trade in Nepal and provides a roadmap toward developing a sound, modern SPS system. It includes recommendations that cover both short-term and long-term timelines that will assist Nepal with strengthening its SPS system, thereby better enabling the country to engage in regional and international trade and to most effectively direct future investments.
The assessment team found four core areas for future consideration. The recommendations in this report identify areas that need little financial support and time to areas needing greater support and time. If actions are taken to address these areas, Nepal will be well on its way to achieving a viable SPS system.
The four areas of significance include:
Standards adoption: The implementation of SPS standards is needed to ensure a safe domestic food supply and enable exports. Food safety, plant health, and animal health controls are built upon process-based standards such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and tolerance standards such as maximum residue levels (MRLs).
- Risk management: There is a fundamental lack of a scientific risk-based approach to SPS management across value chains. Nepal must implement risk-based systems and principles in order to more efficiently direct inspection resources and to utilize risk-assessment techniques in regulatory decisions to improve public health while facilitating trade.
- Analytical services: There is a disconnect between laboratory capabilities, demand for analytical testing, and services available. Further, there is no authority in Nepal that can provide labs with the necessary accreditation/certification required to meet international standards. The establishment of an accrediting authority will help to solve problems around testing demand and issuance of export certificates.
- Research to farm communication: The Nepalese government SPS experts can better inform farmers of SPS risks and how to address them by coordinating the work of subject matter experts such as the plant health experts at NARI with extension service providers and/or agricultural and veterinary service providers who can bridge information flow to/from the farmers.
While the findings in this report suggest Nepal is far from having an advanced SPS system, it is possible that the GON could establish a basic system because it understands the need for and how an SPS system works. A basic system could be established within a five-year period and would be “good enough” to ensure that food destined for both domestic and export markets is safe and complies with international trade standards. Once a basic system is established, the GON can consider additional improvements that will lead them to a more advanced system.