Digitising import and export processes in the agri-food sector

Automating practices and making data sharing more secure


By bringing together  international expertise and the local know-how of border authorities and businesses, this project facilitated trade of plant products in Morocco by replacing paper processes with electronic systems and making trading more secure, efficient and rapid.

Traders importing or exporting plants or plant products had to acquire a paper phytosanitary certificate to show that the material is considered free from pests and that it complies with plant health regulations. In Morocco, as in most countries, these paper certificates accompanied the shipment or were exchanged by post with trading partners. This made for a lengthy process, where any errors took a long time to rectify, and there was risk of loss, damage or fraud.

What are we doing

Alongside multiple Moroccan border agencies and local and international agri-food companies, our project:

  • supported Morocco to introduce electronic phytosanitary certificates, or ePhytos, and join the “ePhyto Hub”, an initiative led by the International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat, which will allows them to electronically exchange ePhytos with trading partners quickly, accurately and at low cost.


The use of ePhytos:

  • means certificates are transferred between parties quickly, accurately and at low cost, reducing the time and cost burden on both traders and border agencies
  • reduces the risk of loss or fraud, helping ensure any threats to plant health through trade are stopped in their tracks
  • paves the way for Morocco to exchange other types of data with trading partners

Overall, the project can also help drive food security by preventing shipments of food getting stuck and spoiled at the border.


We have conducted a baseline study using our Total Transport and Logistics Costs (TTLC) methodology, which measures both direct and indirect transport and logistics costs.

We will measure the time taken for border compliance for agri-food imports and exports using ePhytos to assess our impact on time and cost of trading. We will also look for evidence of wider benefits for society such as increased opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.

How can the private sector get involved?

We are looking for businesses to get involved in a wide range of activities, including identifying international best practice, providing technical expertise to design the new systems, piloting the new systems, collecting and sharing data, and delivering training.

Project structure 


Phase 1



Phase 2


Analysis and design of new processes using international best practice

Phase 3


Piloting, delivering training and launching new systems

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