Fiji Transitions to Full Electronic Phytosanitary Exchange

Optimised processes will improve efficiency and safety in agricultural trade

Fiji has become the latest member of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Hub, enabling seamless electronic exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates.

An official system launch event organised by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) on Friday 24 March marked the successful completion of a landmark initiative to introduce electronic phytosanitary (ePhyto) certification for Fijian trade in plant and plant products.

A phytosanitary certificate is a legal document issued by a country’s National Plant Protection Organisation for exports of plants and goods of plant origin certifying that they are free of specific pests and diseases. The Alliance supported BAF in taking the final steps to fully integrate into the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Hub, enabling the country’s vital agri-food sector to exchange necessary export and import documentation with key markets quickly, accurately, and at low cost.

This integration will streamline trade with key markets in several, practical ways, including improving planning for the arrival and clearance of goods; expediting clearance of produce from ports; allowing faster, more cost-effective completion of required certification; automating the process for issuing ePhytos to non-registered traders; and enabling the quick replacement of erroneous paperwork.

In July 2020, Fiji was one of the first countries in the Asia Pacific region to use electronic phytosanitary certification, exchanging ePhytos with New Zealand. Following full adoption of the ePhyto Solution, Fiji will now be able to exchange ePhytos with other important markets such as Australia and the United States of America.

In the coming months, all paper-based processes associated with phytosanitary certification will be phased out and BAF will transition to a fully electronic process, in keeping with the country’s ambitions to facilitate trade through digitalisation.

Based on experience in other countries that have implemented the ePhyto Solution, the new system will increase food security and help level the playing field for MSMEs by introducing processes that lower barriers to global trade. Implementation will also contribute to fulfilling Fiji’s commitments under the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, which sets out measures expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods.