BURKINA FASO – In a bid to enhance the efficiency of its horticultural exports, Burkina Faso has unveiled the ePhyto electronic platform, a significant milestone in modernizing phytosanitary procedures.

Lauched by Alassane Guire, Director of Cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Resources and Fisheries, the ePhyto platform heralds a new era of digitalization in trade facilitation.

The ePhyto platform represents a paradigm shift from traditional manual procedures to a streamlined digital system for issuing phytosanitary certificates. Phytosanitary certificates are official documents issued by governments to confirm that shipments of plants and plant products being traded internationally are free of pests and diseases and, therefore, safe to import.

This innovative solution, facilitated by the West African Trade Facilitation Programme (WAFE) with support from the World Bank, aims to expedite the certification process while ensuring compliance with international standards.

WAFE seeks to  strengthen the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) common market and the integration of the West African region into the international economic and trading systems.

Mr. Guire emphasized the transformative impact of ePhyto on Burkina Faso’s trade landscape, highlighting its potential to bolster export performance and reduce certification timelines. By embracing digitalization, Burkina Faso aims to fortify its trade competitiveness and facilitate greater participation in global markets, particularly in the lucrative fruit export sector.

Erick Herman Abiassi, World Bank Country Representative in Burkina Faso, lauded the operationalization of the electronic phytosanitary certificate as a pivotal milestone in strengthening the country’s trade competitiveness.

Fruit export potential

The introduction of the ePhyto platform comes at a time when fruit exports constitute a substantial source of revenue for Burkina Faso’s horticultural sector.

Data from the National Institute of Statistics and Demography (INSD) indicates that in 2022 alone, Burkina Faso exported over 140,000 tons of edible fruit, generating substantial revenue amounting to nearly CFAF 112.4 billion (USD 182.6 million).

In 2023, the value of exports of Edible fruit and nuts totalled U.S$ 148 million.

The ePhyto Solution allows countries to electronically exchange ePhytos with each other through a central hub, quickly, accurately, and at a low cost.

The risk of loss, damage, or fraud to the certificate is greatly reduced, as is the administrative burden on border agencies and businesses.

In 2022, Kenya led Africa in automating phytosanitary certification. Countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania have since joined the bandwagon.

As of July last year, 70 countries, including EU member states, had implemented paperless certification.

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