Citrusdale PPECB inspection

The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (Shaffe) and Freshfel Europe are joining the Global Alliance (the Alliance) for Trade Facilitation to accelerate current NPPO endeavours regarding the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) ePhyto hub.

The groups noted that the fruit sector had 'managed well' through the global pandemic with only 1 per cent loss in trade volume (87m tonnes in 2020) but still a 3 per cent increase in global value (US$100bn in 2020).

However, the need for original documents/certificates in a period of restricted travel and social distancing remained a major trade barrier for in-time delivery of perishable goods, they added.

'While many governments have been accelerating transition to electronic transmission systems, the fruit sector still sees major barriers in the implementation,' they stated.

To bridge this gap and foster dialogue between private and public actors, Shaffe, together with Freshfel Europe and the Alliance, will hold a global webinar together with NPPO representatives, to discuss the potential of the IPPC ePhyto solution.

The webinar will take place on 27 May for Europe, US, Africa and Latin America, and on the 31 May 2021 for Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

'Missing or faulty documents are one of the main elements for interceptions at border,' the statement continued. 'In EU-27 countries alone, one third of perishable interceptions can be traced back to a mistake or missing phytosanitary certificate.

'The global pandemic with limited travel, restricted airfreight and courier services accelerated the challenge to comply to the administrative and the regulatory requirements to enter destination markets.'

The IPPC ePhyto system allows the transmission of electronic phytosanitary certificates via a secure XML-coded message from NPPO to NPPO.

With more than 1m phytosanitary certificates exchanged already, and more and more countries committing to this or alternative digital solutions, the fruit industry has welcomed the effort made to eventually move to paperless certification.

The webinar programme will consist of a panel discussion of NPPO and IPPC representatives, amongst them Christian Dellis from Aphis, Helene Klein from the EU Traces Team and Peter Neimanis from the Australian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment, to discuss major elements of concern to make the solution workable for the global fruit industry.