Enactment of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority Poultry Health Regulations
Saturday, August 20th, 2022
Under the 11th European Development Fund Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Project: “Strengthening of the Legislative Framework in Belize”, the European Union provided funds for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) to develop much-needed regulations. It was agreed that the Poultry Health Regulations would be prioritized. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, BAHA and other key stakeholders partnered for the implementation of this project.
The Poultry Health Regulations, to be enacted into law by Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise, is a key element in good governance in the veterinary domain of BAHA. This veterinary instrument complies with the relevant requirements of international instruments related to the veterinary domain and adds a functional, transparent structure to the regulation of the poultry industry, particularly, in the control of poultry diseases.
In the drafting of this revised legislation, which repeals the outdated Poultry Disease Regulations, BAHA pursued a consultative process involving BAHA as the Competent Authority, a legal expert and poultry industry stakeholders, to ensure that the resulting legislation is scientifically, technically and legally sound. The World Trade Organization was also notified of this draft legislation in compliance with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. The consultative process helped to strengthen relationships with stakeholders and this should greatly facilitate implementation. BAHA continues to build the in-house structure required and plans to provide educational workshops with stakeholders to help in implementation.
The Poultry Health Regulations provide a basis for BAHA to manage poultry diseases of importance to Belize. Among other measures, it provides for:
– Traceability through registration of commercial poultry establishments;
– The listing and mandatory reporting of diseases of importance to the country;
– Surveillance of poultry diseases;
– Biosecurity particularly during a poultry disease emergency; and
– Disease prevention and control, including emergency response plans and financing.
Copies of the Poultry Health Regulations, once gazetted, would be made available to stakeholders during the educational workshops. Further information can be obtained from the desks of the Director of Animal Health and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Enquiry Point at BAHA.
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