Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), the Spanish International
Cooperation Program of the Government of Spain and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
May 18, 2000
Representatives of the Ministries
of Agriculture from Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine Recommend to Establish
a Regional Commission for the Export Sale and Marketing of Fresh Fruits
and Vegetables Under One Cooperative Regional Label
At a seminar of representatives
of the Ministries of Agriculture from Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine, held
this week in Jerusalem under the auspices of IPCRI-Israel/Palestine Center for
Research and Information, agreed to call on their Ministers to Sign a Protocol
Of Agricultural Cooperation including the establishment of the first formal,
government supported Regional Commission for Cooperative Export Marketing. The
recommendations will be submitted to the Ministers of Agriculture. IPCRI has
begun to work towards a meeting of the four Ministers of Agriculture where these
recommendations would be discussed.
The seminar was the fourth regional seminar on Agricultural cooperation organized
by IPCRI since 1997. The seminar was funded by the Spanish International Cooperation
Program of the Government of Spain. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has also
been a partner in the IPCRI Cooperative Agriculture Program.
The participants in the seminar represent the senior levels of the Ministries
in Marketing, plant protection and national agricultural planning. It is interesting
to note that while the West Bank and Gaza were flaming with violence and confrontation
between Israelis and Palestinians, four delegations from Egypt, Jordan, Israel
and Palestine spent three days of intensive and productive talks on agricultural
regional cooperation. The atmosphere in the Notre Dame Center where the seminar
was held, was one of true partnership and cooperation.
The participants heard a lecture from Dr. Johannes Gerster, the Head of the
Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Jerusalem about the history of the establishment
of the European Union. The establishment of the German-French Steel and Coal
Commission shortly after WW II was particularly inspiring and lead to the decision
of the participants to recommend to their Government the establishment of the
First Regional Joint Commission.
The following is a copy of the Recommendations that are being submitted to the
governments of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.
IPCRI (Israel/Palestine Center
for Research and Information) Workshop on Harmonization of Agricultural Health,
Phytosanitary and Quality Standards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables between
Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine Jerusalem, May 15-17, 2000
Recommendations for a Draft Protocol on Agricultural Cooperation between the
Ministries of Agriculture of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine
It is highly recommended that the Ministers of
Agriculture of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine sign a protocol of cooperation
between the four countries for the purpose of advancing concrete steps towards
the development of possibilities for unified marketing strategies and sale of
specific horticulture produce to the large markets of the EU, EFTA, NAFTA, and
the Far East.
The large markets (mainly in Europe) are becoming more and more concentrated
by a limited number of buyers. The ability to compete and sell to those markets
is based on the ability to supply high quality products based on Good Agricultural
Practices (GAP) that are in large enough quantities and with promised consistency
over time. The ability to profit from the marketing windows that exist in those
markets at times when supplies are low, particularly during the winter months,
is based on the ability to design the export flow of desired crops to those
markets at the right time. There is also a need for designing specific crop
specifications and standards for the various sub-sections of the European markets
according to the demands of the consumers in those countries.
In order to exploit the export opportunities for the mutual economic benefit
of the four countries and in particular for the economic benefit of the farmers,
high level and broad based cooperation, coordination, capacity building and
joint work is necessary between the four countries. In particular it is worthwhile
to mention these specific areas of needed cooperation:
Market research and Marketing Information
Biological research and design of products
according to market demands
Data base and registration of pesticides
and other agricultural chemicals
Development of marketing strategies
Adoption of GAP
Technology transfer of breeding materials,
water, and irrigation technology
Forwarding and marketing
Transportation of cargo
Development of a regional market tag or
Unification of plant protection, quality
and quarantine, health, safety and quality standards based on International
Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)
Advancement of Integrated Crop Management
including Integrated Pest Management
A regional commission for agriculture should be established by the decision
of the governments of the four. JEPI-RAC should function as the first formal
and official regional institution. The main goal of JEPI-RAC is to market fresh
horticulture products to the large markets mainly in Europe under one label,
through a well defined marketing strategy and based on planning and agricultural
research and implementation in the field in order to capitalize on the relative
advantages of the agricultural sector of each of the four countries forming
JEPI-RAC will be run by a Board of Commissioners composed of the Four Ministers
of Agriculture and two other senior people from each country. The day-to-day
running of JEPI-RAC will be by a Board of four directors appointed by the Ministers
JEPI-RAC’s Board of Commissioners will be responsible for the appointment of
personnel, the approval of strategies and projects and the raising of funds.
The four countries will provide agreed upon facilities and in-kind support.
Project funds will be sought from the donor nations and international organizations.
JEPI-RAC will have a Constitution of By-Laws that will set it up as a legal
regional institution empowered by the Governments of the four. JEPI-RAC will
establish four offices, one in each country, each office will head the work
of a sub-commission in one of the following four areas:
Marketing research and strategies
Unification and enforcement of plant protection,
health, safety and quality standards
Biological and agricultural research
Regional agricultural on-line data base
Each sub-commission will have a board of directors composed of at least 2 people
from each country which will recommend the specific activities of the sub-commission
to JEPI-RAC Board of Commissioners for approval.
JEPI-RAC will seek membership as a regional working group in international organizations
such as IPPC , the Bio-diversity Conference, the Climate Change Convention and
other related institutions.
Recommendations of the phytosanitary
working group at the IPCRI Agricultural Conference
It is proposed to exchange information
about new pests. Samples or specimens are to be sent for identification
in laboratories with expertise. Knowledge about identification and detection
should be made available to Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Israel (JEPI).
Databases on pests present in each country
will be made available JEPI. The database will include the name of the pest,
the strain or biotype the date, the host plant, the climate, the location
in which it was found and the methods of control. These databases will serve
to refer to citations and information available on each pest.
It is proposed to exchange among the countries
involved the existing phytosanitary regulations and criteria. There should
be meetings of technical professionals from JEPI in order to address harmonized
standards, based on the principles of each of the countries and the internationally
agreed rules. It is advised that the harmonized regulations (based on laws)
to enforce quarantine at borders.
It is advised that the methods for testing
and verification of pest presence will be agreed by the technical personnel.
A standing committee of technical professionals will negotiate changes in
agreed regulations or in the verification protocols should be made in agreement
Information dissemination will be made
by extension officers, media, workshops to inform farmers and end users
of presence of new pests and diseases. Forecast and expert system should
be made available to respective organization in JEPI.
We recommend a proper utilization of media
and training methods to inform the implementation of IPM and good management
A phytosanitary standing committee will
negotiate quarantine restrictions on import and export of agricultural produce
among the parties involved. It is proposed to produce an agreed phytosanitary
certificate. The standing committee will convene upon the request of one
of the parties.
Create a website on phytosanitary news
available to all parties involved but limited to users that have authorization.
Databases on the list of pesticides used
in each country will be made available to all the parties involved. The
database will include the common and generic name of the pesticide, the
pest to be controlled by it, the recommended mode of application, the safety
period and the threshold allowed on a list of crop at harvest time.
It is proposed to exchange among the countries
involved the existing regulations and criteria about the allowed residues
of pesticides in imported produce. There should be meetings of technical
professionals from all four parties in order to address harmonized standards,
based on the principles of each of the countries and the internationally
agreed rules. It is advised that the harmonized regulations (will be based
on laws) to enforce quarantine at borders.
It is advised that the methods for testing
and verification of pesticides presence bwill be agreed by the technical
personnel. A standing committee of technical professionals will negotiate
changes in agreed regulations or in the verification protocols should be
made in agreement of all four countries.
Genetically modified crops and organisms
should be made known on agreed labels and certificates. The procedures and
methods to detect GMO should be made available by the national GMO committee
to the GMO committees of the four parties. Test and field experiments with
GMO that are likely to affect neighboring parties should be made known by
the national GMO committee to the respective committee in the neighboring
Representatives from the GMO committees
of the four parties should meet to harmonize the standards and regulations
in producing and importing GM crops. Personnel from all four parties involved
should be trained in order to be able to cope with the novel techniques
needed to detect GMOs.
Recommendations for a Draft Protocol
on Marketing, Forwarding, Packaging and Quality Standard Cooperation between
the Ministry of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine.
Recommendations of this workshop are as follows:
There is importance in collecting information
from the markets in this region as well as other regions (e.g. Western Europe,
Far East, etc.) and to influence the relevant decision makers to invest
in this issue.
There is a need in regional standards for
fresh products and all kinds of propagation material in order to protect
this region from penetration of low quality products.
Another aspect of this issue is to help the trade of these four countries
and in the future more countries from this region.
There is a need for cooperation in order
to learn the marketing methods of the destination countries, to create a
regional marketing strategy. In addition to this, to develop strategy in
transportation (by sea, air, etc.) and in sales promotion of products typical
to this region.
There is a need to increase the growers
and marketers awareness to make production cheaper, higher quality and more
efficient in order to compete in the markets when the purpose is to aim
for high quality and price in the market.
It is important to produce high value products
in the region (seeds, etc.). Research has to be involved in this issue.
To determine each countries’ needs and
to involve research cooperation between the 4 countries. Each country will
contribute according to their ability, in order to complete the other countries
(courses, study groups, etc.)
The numbers of this workshop will be published
in an article of the professional newsletters of each respective country.