USDA FAS Helps Build National Plant Health Policy in Georgia
Over the last several years, Georgia has continued to demonstrate great success toward modernization, much of which can be attributed to the country’s ability to build effective international linkages within the global agricultural, economic and trade sectors of the United States and beyond. A vital component of USDA’s efforts to strengthen Georgia’s ability to expand global trade includes the design and implementation of a national phytosanitary policy that is consistent with international standards.
Starting in 2019, USDA FAS began a partnership with California State University, Fresno, utilizing the institution’s resources as a leading agricultural university with experience managing global development initiatives. The agreement calls for Fresno State to “Enhance the Implementation and Effectiveness of National Phytosanitary Capacity for Georgia through Training and Education.”
The project, now in its second year, is under the direction of Dr. Bill Erysian, who has worked in agricultural development and reform programs in the South Caucasus for nearly two decades. For the current initiative in Georgia he manages a team of Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology faculty specializing in plant health and food safety (Dr. David Goorahoo), pest management (Dr. Jacob Wenger), and international trade (Dr. Serhat Asci).
“Georgia is committed to developing a national phytosanitary policy that will transform
the country’s capacity in international agricultural trade,” Dr. Erysian explained.
“There is tremendous unity of effort within the Georgian government and the private
agricultural sector to develop and implement new phytosanitary practices that will
meet the international standards and regulations that govern access to new export
markets. We are excited to be part of those efforts.”
There are several components to the USDA FAS – Fresno State partnership in Georgia that target the core objective of the program. The Fresno State team was instrumental in helping to form the National Phytosanitary Steering Committee consisting of public and private stakeholders in Georgia, which serves in an advisory role to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. Also, FAS recently introduced an Integrated Pest Management ‘Roadmap’ for Georgia that is designed to increase the adoption of sustainable, economical and safe pest management practices.
The project also includes the delivery of a series of ongoing technical training and education initiatives in plant health that will help increase and maintain Georgia’s phytosanitary expertise into the future. Immediate plans call for the creation of online certificate courses in Integrated Pest Management, pest monitoring and sampling, border inspections and international standards, pest risk analysis and biological control.