Fiji is modernising its paper-based phytosanitary documentation system by fully implementing the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Solution, enabling the exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates, or ePhytos, quickly, accurately, and at low cost.
The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF), the entity charged with preventing the introduction of foreign pests and diseases in plants and animals into the country and with facilitating the safe trade of plant and animal products, is already linked to the IPPC Hub, enabling the exchange of ePhytos with New Zealand.
However, more work is required to allow similar, seamless electronic exchange with the country’s other main export markets, including the United States and Australia.
Also, access to the system is currently limited to offices in two central locations, requiring in-person visits for completions – virtually ruling out businesses in more remote locations. As well as this, phytosanitary certification for all non-registered exporters – most of them micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) – remains fully paper-based.
The country has much to gain by fully implementing the IPPC ePhyto Solution. Agriculture plays a key role in income generation and food security in Fiji, representing 7% of GDP and supporting 27% of the population. Moreover, 83% of the rural population is engaged with the sector, mainly MSMEs.
What we are doing
BAF requested assistance from the Alliance in completing the adoption of the IPPC Generic ePhyto National System (GeNS), a web-based application that allows countries to connect to the IPPC Hub without having to build a Single Window.
The Alliance will support BAF in reviewing and revising its procedures to make better use of the GeNS application, including:
- Connecting enterprises and priority BAF remote offices to the system and providing appropriate training in new systems
- Revising and implementing new procedures to handle electronic phytosanitary certificates for non-registered exporters
- Reviewing procedures for High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) phytosanitary treatment certification, which are fully manual and not integrated into GeNS
- Assisting BAF to exchange ePhytos with the country’s main trading partners
- Developing and delivering a range of training and change management activities, both for BAF officers and companies, to secure the ongoing use and development of the GeNS application.
At the conclusion of this project, traders will be able to access the IPPC GeNs application through BAF’s remote offices, allowing them to exchange ePhyto certificates with all key trading partners, including New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and other countries in the Pacific region connected to the IPPC Hub.
Trade facilitation benefits will include:
- More streamlined trade with key markets
- Improved planning for the arrival and clearance of goods and expedited clearance of commodities from ports, including pre-clearance, wherever possible
- Faster, more cost-effective completion of required certification
- Automated processes for issuing ePhytos to non-registered traders
- Efficient replacement of erroneous certificates and improved capability to search and locate certificate records and retrieve data when necessary
- Reduced overheads for exporters and importers in application and receipt of ePhytos
Reform through public private partnership
From the outset, the local private sector has been active in identifying the main systemic challenges they currently face and in supporting the adoption of the IPPC ePhyto Solution. In public private dialogue marking the end of the project’s scoping stage, businesses pledged to assist BAF in bringing it to fruition, including participating in the necessary training and early testing during implementation. Further, the private sector also committed to working alongside the Fijian government on a project steering committee to bring about a mutually successful conclusion for the country and for traders.
The Alliance will use its Total Transport and Logistics Cost (TTLC) methodology, which measures both direct and indirect transportation and logistics costs, to conduct a baseline study when the project begins and a comprehensive impact assessment at its conclusion to determine how the project lowered cost and time for traders.
The project is expected to take 11 months.
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