Nigeria Celebrates Successful Launch of ePhyto Solution, Boosting Agricultural Trade

Public Private Partnership Drives Collaborative Innovation

Nigeria marked the successful implementation of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Solution at an official ceremony held in Abuja on June 25, 2024. The initiative, spearheaded by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) in collaboration with the Alliance and the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT), and implemented by GIZ, signifies a major step forward in streamlining Nigerian agricultural trade. A second event dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of ePhyto among local businesses was held on June 27, 2024, in Lagos, the economic capital.

The ePhyto Solution facilitates the exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates, or ePhytos, with international trading partners. This digital system eliminates paper-based documentation:

  • Reducing Costs and Processing Times: Exporters save time and money by eliminating the need for travel and lengthy manual processing.
  • Enhancing Food Security: Faster border clearance for agricultural products contributes to less food spoilage and improved food security.
  • Strengthening Competitiveness: Electronic certification ensures greater accuracy and reduces the risks of error, loss or fraud, boosting national trade competitiveness.

The Alliance’s public private partnership approach enabled inputs from NAQS, relevant government ministries like the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, private sector representatives and businesses.

The project also included comprehensive training for government officials and private sector stakeholders, installation of an ePayment and eSignature function, upgrading IT infrastructure, and strategic efforts to maximise private sector engagement.

NAQS is committed to maximising the system’s benefits and sustainability through a multimedia information campaign to raise awareness among agri-food traders, promoting widespread adoption of the new digital procedures. Additionally, Idachaba Ebenezer, IPPC ePhyto Contact Point at NAQS, confirmed that from July 15, compliance with the ePhyto system will be mandatory.

“By embracing digitalisation, Nigeria is taking a significant leap forward in simplifying agricultural trade, boosting exports, and ensuring food security. The Alliance is proud to be part of this journey,” Alliance Director Philippe Isler told attendees at the closing ceremony.

In his speech,Vincent Isegbe, Comptroller General, NAQS said, “The implementation of the ePhyto system is expected to significantly reduce and even eliminate rejections of our agro commodity exports in international markets. Our trading partners will now receive electronic certificates that confirms the due diligence on exported commodities and this assurance of quality and compliance will foster greater trust and acceptance of Nigerian agro-produce globally.”