ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia is set to revolutionize its agricultural sector by launching the Integrated Export and Import Certification System (IEICS), the e-Phyto system. 

This innovative digital initiative, a collaboration between the Ethiopian Agricultural Authority (EAA) and TradeMark Africa (TMA), aims to streamline the trade process for agricultural exports and imports.

The European Union, through the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), has funded the project with ETB 9.1 million (approximately US$162,000 ). This digital transformation will replace traditional paper-based certification processes, significantly reducing transaction costs and carbon emissions.

The e-Phyto system is designed to replace outdated manual and paper-based certification processes. By adopting this digital solution, Ethiopia aims to enhance efficiency, foster transparency, and streamline the agricultural value chain. 

The system will provide end-to-end paperless import and export certification services, from application submission to certificate issuance, integrating seamlessly with international phytosanitary certificate systems.

Ato Wondale Habtamu, EAA Deputy Director and Head of Ethiopian NPPO, highlighted that this transition aligns with global trends towards sustainable and inclusive economic practices. 

He provided that by integrating digital solutions into agricultural trade, Ethiopia not only boosts its export competitiveness but also supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9) and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). 

The introduction of the e-Phyto system, funded by the European Union, marks the readiness of Ethiopia to use state-of-the-art systems to participate in global trade fully. This digital certification tool allows Ethiopia to compete globally, driving economic growth and sustainability in agriculture,” Mr. Abiy Tesfaye, representing the EU delegation, commented. 

TMA Ethiopia Country Director Ewnetu Taye added: “TMA is thrilled to support the Ethiopian Agricultural Authority through this innovative digital transition. Our collaboration is designed to build a sustainable and inclusive trade environment that will benefit the entire region.”

The e-Phyto system will connect with the e-Phyto hub, facilitating the sharing of issued certificates with international counterparts and streamlining the export process. 

Three implementation options are being considered: adopting the GENS platform, customizing solutions used in Kenya, or developing a bespoke system tailored to Ethiopia’s needs. Consultations with agricultural ministries in Kenya and Uganda are ongoing to refine these options.

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