Stakeholders see how “E-Phyto Certification” works

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi, 21 May 2019

The Samoan business community had a first glimpse of an E-Phyto Certification and learned how it works in a workshop. 

Hosted by the Samoa Quarantine Service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.), the workshop was funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia.

“E-Phyto Certification is an electronic transmission which accelerates the exchanges of information on traded plants and plants products,” said Tilafono David Hunter, the Chief Executive Officer of M.A.F.

“It is a paperless mechanism which is cost efficient and provides the opportunity to minimise fraudulent activities on the trading of plants and plant products.”

Tilafono explained the main purpose of the system is “to simplify and reduce the cost of trade, increase our ability to identify high risk items and further target resources for risk mitigation".

“In our first workshop held in 2017, you were introduced to the E-phyto certification system, and in today’s (yesterday) workshop, you will actually learn how to use it.

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“It is a user-friendly system where you can complete all your requests on-line from your workplace, without the inconvenience of travelling to our quarantine office to be issued with your Phytosanitary Certificate original for your import or export consignment.

“It will now be transmitted electronically using the XML format. Such system is widely used by our major trading partners like New Zealand, Australia, United States, China, and other Asian Countries, where several of our traded agricultural commodities are exported to and imported from.

“It is a fast and ethical system using an authenticated pre-coded security transmission.”

Tilafono said  introduction of such system is timely as Samoa is moving along with technology as the rest of the world.

“With Samoa’s telecommunication infrastructure significantly improved, I believe we are now in a strong position capacity-wise to join the developed countries’ harmonisation of this electronic certification.”

During his opening remarks, Tilafono used the opportunity to thank those who contributed to the launch and introduction of such a system to Samoa. 

“We are very thankful to the International Plant Protection Convention for our inclusion in this important project given our remoteness and small size.

“It will provide us with the opportunity to test the effectiveness of this innovative technology and its limits. We have already established and structured our legal entities on telecommunication and technology to support such initiative, for the development of e-phyto certification system and its applications for its intended purposes.

“I would like to again register our appreciation to our two consultants from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Australia, Dr. Peter Neimanis and the United Nation International Computing Center, Dr. Venkatram Venkateswaran for availing your time from your respective busy work schedules, to assist our Quarantine Division and especially our stakeholders from our business community, to learn about this e-phyto certification system and its applications.”

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi, 21 May 2019

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