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Market access projects for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to enhance intra-regional trade
Many African countries fail to access South African market because South Africa has well-developed standards and monitoring authorities and institutions. Furthermore, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade have increased due to inadequate or outdated information of pests and diseases present in the exporting countries, which may result in incomplete pest risk analysis by the importing country for that particularly plant commodity of concern.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) contracted PhytoSolutions SPS experts to provide expert pest risk analysis, pest surveillance, inspections and technical training services to the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) of South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Madagascar for a range of technical activities in support of bilateral market access initiatives for various commodities traded amongst these beneficiary countries from 2013 to date.
The projects targeted specific commodity priorities that were submitted as priorities by traders in the region.  The Fresh Produce Importers Association (FPIA) of South Africa worked closely with our consultants to develop industry linkages and to create a platform for private sector consultations and engagements after market access was achieved. 
The following commodities were targeted through different COMESA-driven projects:
2.1.         Strawberries (Fragaria spp) from Ethiopia to South Africa
2.3.         Litchi (Litchi spp) from Madagascar to South Africa
2.4.         Pre-packed Capsicum spp from Kenya to South Africa
2.5.         Avocado (from Kenya to South Africa
2.6.         Avocado from Zambia to South Africa

Working closely with industry organizations to engage private sector as well as cooperating with various regulatory authorities our consultants ensured that up to date and accurate technical information for pest information packages (PIPs) were developed.   They continued to also work closely with the South African National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) to conduct a pest risk analysis and provided subsequent technical and practical inputs during the bilateral engagements to develop feasible bilateral plant health protocols.
Since the inception of the first product in 2013, three markets have been successfully accessed and trade is taking place.  Two of these markets are in the final negotiations phase. 
However, the objective of these projects was not only to access the South African market but also to develop technical capacities of public and private sector role-players in the exporting countries to comply with sanitary and phytosanitary conditions for import of fresh product for consumption into the South African market.
In 2015 and 2016, PhytoSolutions consultants were contracted to provide commodity and market compliance training to producers in Madagascar and to provide additional technical capacity to the NPPO of Madagascar to conduct pest specific surveillance in production areas that applied for export to South Africa.  




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