USDA Awards Continuation Supplement for Pilot Testing GRP Toolkit in African Countries

Dr. Nicola L. Ritter, Instructional Associate Professor and Director for the Center for Educational Technologies, and Dr. Molly Gonzales, Research Assistant Professor, were recently awarded a supplement to their existing 5 year $1M grant titled, Improvement and Maintenance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Distance Learning and Knowledge Management Platforms. An additional $400,000 was added to pilot test a Sanitary & Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) Toolkit in African countries, including Zambia, Nigeria, Botswana, and Malawi. These countries have experienced droughts and famine over the past few years, creating food shortages and long-term food insecurity. Implementing this toolkit is expected to support these nations’ food supply chains and create new trade agreements between these African countries, making them less reliant on countries further away geographically and dealing with political unrest and economic instability.  

In 2023 the CET helped facilitate the Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA) – Using Good Regulatory Practice to Facilitate Safe Trade in Africa Conference in Accra, Ghana.

Good Regulatory Practices (GRPS) are the processes and tools to help improve the quality and effectiveness of SPS measures without creating unnecessary barriers to trade. This project will also support further uptake of the Food Safety for Food Security’s (FS4FS’s) SPS distance learning modules which seek to educate the global community on methods for modernizing and improving food safety regulatory systems around the world. Over 175 hours of on-demand training is currently available at: The website houses 23 interactive course modules available in Dari, English, French, Russian, and Spanish to address the World Trade Organization’s SPS Agreement, as well as a variety of SPS topics across plant health, animal health, and food safety. To date, the site has trained 15,000 users from 175 countries. Sign up for a training account today. If you are interested in training your organization with these resources, Texas A&M University can assist you in getting started. Contact them at To learn more about the impact of the program and its benefits go to: 

Farm workers washing newly harvested bananas before they are packed and ready for export.

Dr. Ritter stated, “This training program was created with the support of Texas A&M University’s Center for Educational Technologies. The Center for Educational Technologies (CET) specializes in developing education programs, training, and outreach activities that complement technical experts’ research activities. Our external sponsors requested that our research team disseminate findings through education and outreach programs. This is where the CETs stepped in for us. By partnering with the CET, Dr. Gonzales and I were able to focus on the technical component, while the CET team translated our research into training programs and disseminated findings to the general public. We could not have gotten this supplement without the CET.” Explore the CET’s current and past collaborations at:   

USDA-Foreign Agriculture Services sponsors this research project. The Center for Educational Technologies is a Core Facility of Texas A&M University that supports researchers with their training and outreach activities. Research Resources ID: RRID:SCR_022691