A three-days refresher training on the use of electronic phytosanitary certificate (ePhyto) was held from March 1st – 3rd for local exporters and officers of the Bio-security division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Through support of the PACER Plus Implementing Unit (PPIU) work on the set up of the Generic ePhyto National System (GeNS) for the Solomon Islands began last year.

Phytosanitary certificates are documents used to detail products used in export and imports and their destinations. It is an important part of the market access process.
Solomon Islands has been using the paper-based certificates and with the set-up of the GeNS, would allow a transition into an easily accessible and transferable digital format.

Director, Bio Security Solomon Islands, Francis, Tsatsia earlier said this is the way forward for biosecurity.

“With this ePhyto certificate there are many benefits for farmers, they can quickly move their products to overseas markets and the clearance of the products overseas too will be quicker.

“It will take no more than thirty minutes for the document to arrive in Australia and the document will arrive even before the goods arrive.

Director Tsatsia further stressed that the benefits are there to open up more markets and help farmers export efficiently and quickly and he hopes this system will reduce the cost for them to export.

ePhyto Capacity Building Project, Consultant, Peter Neimanis said ePhyto is a project developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to look at the electronic transfer of phytosanitary certificate data.

He said countries are aware of ePhyto for a number of years, and through assistance by PACER Plus this training provides the actual on the ground support that countries need to be able to do the testing and training so they can use the system as well.

Among those who participated at the training is Rachel Bennett of Cathliro Commodities Development Limited. Her company has been dealing in the export of Cocoa beans overseas.

Ms. Bennett said as an exporter it would be much easier using the ePhyto certification process rather than having to do it manually.

“We have to run up and down just to get our phyto certification and it would take a while just to send certificates overseas.

“But with this ePhyto system we are trained on, everything will be online and can be done by the click of a button.

Another participant of this workshop and Biosecurity Solomon Islands Officer, Timmy Titus said in the past the forms are created manually and it takes time to send and be received in the destination countries. With the ePhyto it takes minutes for it to be sent or received.

Mr Titus said for this round of training, they are happy to have a few exporters attending the workshop with them.

Source: MFAET Media