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Given the global scope of the CoCoFe, do you think the objectives are appropriate? If not, how would you add to them or modify them?
The objectives are appropriate and also sufficient since they cover practices/expectations from manufacture (ensuring the fertilizers meet the quality standards on heavy metals and nutrient content) to application in the farms (maintaining and increasing food safety)
How should be the CoCoFe be structured to have the maximum positive impact?
It should cover code of conduct by fertilizer manufacturers, distributors and farmers. It should also provide for enforcement mechanisms and a recognition system for those abiding by the code. To this end, it should provide for institutional arrangements for implementation at the global, regional and country levels.
Who would be the best audience for the CoCoFe to meet our objectives and how could we broaden and diversify this audience to increase its influence?
While concurring with other participants that best audience for the CoCoFe would fertilizer manufacturers, Distributors and farmers (actually misuse of fertilizers happens at the farm, resulting to environmental pollution), I would add that the Government ministries responsible for agriculture, industry, trade and standards should be reached with the CoCoFe. Extension service providers (government, NGOs, Private) would also be part of the audience.
What should the scope of the CoCoFe be? Which nutrient input sources should be included; only synthetic fertilizers, or also manure, biosolids, compost, etc.? Should other products such as bio-stimulants, nitrification inhibitors, urease inhibitors, etc., be included as well?
Since the CoCoFe is not a prescriptive document, it should cover all functions along the fertilizer supply chain. It should provide for code of conduct for manufacturers, distributors and users of all fertilizers be they inorganic, organic or biofertilizers.
Will the CoCoFe assist in promoting responsible and judicious use of fertilizers? Why or why not? What other suggestions do you have to help the CoCoFe meet our objectives?
Yes I believe it will promote responsible and judicious use of fertilizers and especially if accompanied by proper implementation and enforcement mechanisms as well as a reward/sanctions system. A lot of sensitization for awareness creation and capacity building the stakeholders will also be required.
In your opinion, do export restrictions enhance or undermine food security in African countries? Should the WTO disciplines on export restrictions be stricter or allow greater flexibility?
Export restrictions, in the long run, generally have a negative impact on food security even in the producing country. When governments impose export restrictions, it limits market access for the producers. this in most cases leads to lower prices at the domestic level and can subsequently lead to reduced investment in production. This ultimately leads to reduced food availability and also accessibility. If these policies are implemented upharzardly, they lead to uncertainity and consequently instability in both availability and accessibility to food. For the importing countries the impact of export restriction is that there is continued inadequate availability of the food stuffs which tends to keep the prices high. Thus such a policy seriously undermines both the availability and accessibility pillars of food security in the importing country. Export restrictions can contribute to promoting informal cross-border trade. Due to the relatively higher prices in the importing country, traders in the country with export restrictions sell their wares to traders in the importing country without passing through the formal channels.
WTO disciplines on export restrictions should be stricter so as not to unnecessarily distort trade. Any country intending to impose export restrictions should seek permission from thr WTO and present satisfactory reasons as to why it intends to impose the export restriction.