Modernising agri-food trade

Electronic certificate exchange transforms phytosanitary process for traders and border agencies


The Alliance worked with Senegal’s government to cut the costs and time associated with the certification of plant and plant product exports, while also ensuring that importing countries can depend on product quality and safety.

Traders shipping plants or plant products had to acquire a paper phytosanitary certificate to show that the material is considered free from pests and that they comply with plant health regulations. Senegal embraced the use of automated systems for this verification process to remove the risk of erroneous, lost, or damaged paperwork that can result in damaged or spoiled produce.

This project complemented another already underway that aimed at digitalising import processes for seed shipments in Senegal. In addressing import and export procedures, these projects are contributing to the government’s drive to boost the productivity and competitiveness of its agricultural sector and increase its fruit and vegetable exports.

The Alliance has already gained valuable experience supporting the implementation of the ePhyto Solution in Morocco and has other projects underway in Colombia, Ecuador, Jordan, Madagascar and Thailand.

What we did

We supported the Ministry of Agriculture, through its Department for Plant Protection, in introducing electronic phytosanitary certificates, or ePhytos, an initiative of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat. The ePhyto Solution allows participating countries to electronically exchange certificates with trading partners quickly, accurately, and at low cost. The project had a particular focus on improving procedures governing plant-based exports to the European Union, which receives 80% of Senegal’s fruit and vegetable shipments.


Agri-food businesses make up nearly half the Senegalese industrial sector, and 90% of these are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Many of these smaller businesses struggled with the complexity and costs posed by meeting phytosanitary standards for export and this project is benefiting them in particular by simplifying these processes and reducing the expense.

The use of ePhytos :

  • ensures certificates are transferred between parties quickly, accurately, and at low cost, reducing the time and cost burden on both traders and border agencies
  • enhances Senegal’s global trade competitiveness by showing that its plant-based exports conform to international phytosanitary standards
  • assists in the collection of reliable data that can guide sector planning and allow for exchange with trading partners
  • confirms the origin of Senegalese exports and combat traders fraudulently claiming Senegal origin to gain favourable market access
  • promotes wider adoption of phytosanitary standards among local producers


The Alliance used its Total Trade Logistics Cost (TTLC) methodology at the project’s outset and again at its conclusion to determine how the project contributed to lower both direct and indirect costs and time saved in import and export processes at the border.

Project Structure

The project took 15 months and was implemented in five phases: 

Phase 1


Review of existing regulations on phytosanitary procedures

Phase 2


Process mapping and reengineering

Phase 3


Configuration and implementation of the IPPC ePhyto system

Phase 4


Capacity building, training, and change management

Phase 5


Communications and awareness-building within local agencies and those of trading partners

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