The PIP training programme: building of ACP experts capacities in crop protection and food safety to support local companies to comply with EU regulations on pesticides residues.Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2006; 71(2 Pt A):39-48.CA
Regulatory requirements, and in particular phytosanitary quality standards change rapidly. As ACP producers/exporters race to become more competitive, to keep their market share and to satisfay their customers' commercial demands (e.g. EUREP-GAP certification), the need for competent staff who are aware of the company's quality objectives and trained to follow instructions is crucial. Mastering sanitary quality is only possible if matched with a programme to build the skills of companies' human resources. The Pesticide Initiative Programme (PIP), mindful of the importance of making operators autonomous and of training them to monitor EU food safety regulations and technology on their own, has successfully developed a training programme while building a quality network of local/ACP service providers. By building the capacities of ACP experts and then securing their services as trainers, PIP also guarantees companies' access to expertise and the sustainability of their efforts to comply with new EU regulations. The training strategy developed by PIP rests on two pilars: instructor training and collective training. Instructor training consists in reinforcing the technical knowledge of local experts (agronomists, hygienists, etc.) by providing them with active teaching methods. Once the ACP experts have gained enough technical knowledge of the key areas of crop protection--mainly pesticides management--and food safety, and have demonstrated their capacity to train the technical staff of local companies, the PIP has carried out a collective training programme in 2004, 2005 and 2006. To date, more than 130 consultants covering about 15 ACP countries have received instructor training, and more than 700 people have participated in collective and in-company training sessions.