Press Releases 2011
Tour of COPEG Sterile Fly Plant at Pacora
March 25, 2011
The Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy, David Gilmour, and the Secretary General of Agricultural Development, Juan Carlos Rodríguez, visited the COPEG Sterile Fly Plant located in Pacora to tour the area and receive the latest information from the Panama-United States Commission for the Eradication and Prevention (COPEG) of Screw Worm about the continual efforts on the eradication of the diseases that affects farming production.
During the tour, Deputy Chief of Mission Gilmour praised the example set by the mutual collaboration between the United States and Panama, working shoulder to shoulder in matters of human and animal health. He continued to say, “COPEG has successfully maintained a secure barrier against the screw worm and foot-and-mouth disease by using the Darien as a gap. This project continues to be a high priority investment and of utmost importance for my government, having already invested almost $200 million specifically for efforts here in Panama.”
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) leads the collaborative efforts in Panama through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The purpose of the efforts and programs are to strengthen the sanitary systems of the countries, with an emphasis on supporting activities of epidemiologic security, diagnosis conditions and programs for the eradication of diseases that affect agricultural production and the export of products. For this reason, USDA through APHIS provides countries training and assessment support, financing to purchase equipment and make improvements to existing infrastructure, to create proper levels of control in quarantine-worthy cases of disease or plague.
Clear examples of this collaboration in Central America include the joint Fruit Fly Program in Guatemala; the Eradication and Prevention of the Livestock Screw Worm in Panama; the maintaining of diagnosis capabilities for Vesicular Diseases in the region through LADIVES in Panama; and the support of programs that evaluate and conduct surveillance of the Live Birds Market as a means to monitor a potential Bird Flu outbreak.