15-16 April 2021, Thimphu: The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) organized a 2-day training for the Plant Regulatory and Quarantine Officials on “Plant Inspection and Pest and Disease Diagnostics” from 15-16 April 2021 at Thimphu Residency in Thimphu. The primary objective of the training was to enhance competency of the inspectors for timely detection and management of quarantine importance plant pests, diseases and Invasive Alien Species (IAS). As to achieve the objective, the training touched on the following areas, beside others:
- Quarantine and regulated plant pests and diseases for Bhutan
- IAS and its risk assessment
- Identification of plant pest and disease specimens using diagnostic tools and equipment (practical session)
The opening session of the training was graced by the Director General, BAFRA. In his opening remarks he highlighted on the need for such training programme for the inspectors in order to keep them updated of the emerging plant biosecurity threats and accordingly, an applicable preparedness and response plan should be put in place for implementation, should there be any detection or introduction of quarantine importance pest and disease in the country. He also emphasized on the need to ingrain in oneself the qualities of astuteness and adroitness to perform the day-to-day activities more effectively and efficiently.
On the first day of the training, a procedural manual for Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) which was developed collaboratively by National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC) and BAFRA was also launched. This procedural manual will be one important tool to support and guide the National Plant Protection Organization for Bhutan (i.e. BAFRA) to conduct PRA and facilitate traders who are engaged in trade of plants and plant materials through prescription of specific phytosanitary requirements.
The resource person for the training was from NPPC. A total of 18 BAFRA officials from the western region participated in the training physically and 17 officials largely from the Entry Point Offices participated virtually.