Bio-pesticide registration for fruit and cocoa growers
RIU's investment in this programme was always as much about making the policy environment receptive to further licensing and registration of biological control agents as it was about getting the four products licensed.
In reality the impact could never be about large numbers of crops or farmers livelihoods supported.
Impact on policy
The main thrust of the work has been in the working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ghana to implement the policy previously developed under the RNRRS, testing how appropriate it is and giving the regulatory authority experience in the registration process.
Within Ghana the EPA, as the regulatory authority, was critical the partner. A positive relationship was achieved through regular dialogue and open discussion and frequent meetings.
The team have also reassured KEPHIS - the Kenyan Plant Health Inspection Service, that exporting Kenyan isolates is not a threat to Kenya.
The team has worked in liaison with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana) to refine their registration administration and a guide has been developed to assist others interested in registering a biological control agent in Ghana.
Scaling up the good registration practice in West Africa would need to be done with ECOWAS (and/or the AU) and should include CILSS in the discussions.
One of the activities planned to consolidate the policy learning was a planned trip in June 2011 for Kenyan and Ghanaian regulators. The Indian regulators took over three months to approve the visit by which time the date of visit had passed. This was one of several learning exchanges which was frustrated by bureaucracy.
Registration of 4 biological control agents for use in Ghana. The registration process proceeded faster than expected due to flexibility and positive approach of regulators and efficacy testing organisation. This led to two of the biological control agents being licensed.
The launch of the first commercial product was on 7 April 2011. It is difficult to assess the impact until the products are in use in a range of settings at different scalescurrently they are being piloted by some large-scale commercial growers. .
Two Kenyan companies have forged relationships with the regulators, distributors and potential customers in Ghana forming new South-South linkages. Distribution and marketing commenced for two biological control agents at the end of May 2011
The attractiveness of BCAs to the farmer can be boosted by customer demands. Policies and standards developed within the European market over the last 10 years have pushed for reduced chemical residues. There is evidence that farmers have started to express concerns about conventional pesticides widely in the media as a result. Real IPM worked with Blue Skies Products, a major fruit exporter, prior to the beginning of the project and to identify their needs.
The project recognised the importance of getting the bio-pesticides recognised by the organic certification authorities. Three certification bodies have been approached to see they would be willing to recognise these products in organically certified crops.