Switching to electronic phytosanitary certificates in all destination markets would save Chile close to US$100m a year

Chile has become the first South American country to implement electronic phytosanitary certificates for fruit shipments to South Korea. The ePhyto system came into effect 1 January, 2024, facilitating trade between the two countries and improving the management of plant health. Miguel Canala-Echeverría, general manager of Fruits from Chile, said the use of this type of certification will mean savings in time and resources for the public and private sectors.

Chile Korea ephyto

“With the implementation of ePhytos, the sending of paper certificates to the destination port is eliminated, as well as the loss of documents, reissuance due to changes in ports, importers or others,” he said.

“In addition, these certificates provide greater security, since adulterated documents are avoided, benefiting traceability and responding more quickly to unforeseen events that may arise during the export process.”

Canala-Echeverría said the milestone is key to advancing the implementation of ePhytos for shipments of Chilean fruit to all destination markets. “Today, there are markets such as the US, Canada and the Middle East where 100 per cent of our exports are made using electronic phytosanitary certification, while only 13 per cent of shipments are made under this system in the Far East.

“Achieving the implementation of ePhyto in 100 per cent of the destination markets could mean savings for the sector in the order of US$100m annually.”

According to Fruits de Chile, Chile sent more than 33,000 tonnes of fresh fruit to South Korea in 2022/23, of which 51 per cent was table grapes, 20 per cent cherries, 16 per cent lemons, 10 per cent blueberries and 2 per cent avocados.

Chile’s Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) issued 3,916 phytosanitary certificates to South Korea in 2023, with table grapes being the main exported product.