TANZANIA – Tanzania has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Netherlands to enhance electronic certification processes for the sanitary and phytosanitary procedures in the country’s thriving horticultural sector.

The implementation of the MoU will be facilitated by the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority (TPHPA) and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), with the support of various stakeholders and organizations within the sector.

Tanzania wants to revolutionize its certification process, addressing the current reliance on paperwork and introducing electronic systems to streamline trade and improve efficiency in exporting horticultural products.

The country joins its East African counterpart Kenya which took the lead in automating its phytosanitary certification process earlier in January this year.

To export horticultural products from Tanzania, one is required to obtain a phytosanitary certification from the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA).

However, the certification process, currently, heavily relies on paperwork and involves inspections conducted by qualified inspectors.

The phytosanitary paper certificate acts as a guarantee to the importing countries’ authorities, serving as a passport for the product and accompanying the consignment to the designated port of entry.

In the MoU, the Netherlands will provide capacity building on the relevant standards and technical assistance (advice, support to testing, amongst others).

Furthermore, the Netherlands will share its experience with the transition from paper to paperless certification, focusing on the effects on business procedures in both the public and private sectors.

South Africa decries new EU phytosanitary rules

Meanwhile, a bone of contention in the new EU phytosanitary rules has arisen in South Africa, which is said to be shaking up the citrus industry in the country.

According to the South African industry, the 23-day deadline is unreasonable and constitutes a violation of the texts of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which specifically require a six-month review before implementation by a country. of a new phytosanitary measure.

In addition to this reduced adaptation period, the South African Citrus Growers Association (CGA) reports that these significant changes were introduced right in the middle of the export season.

A situation that complicated its implementation a little more insofar as the ships carrying containers loaded with South African fruits bound for Europe were already on the ocean. On the substance, the industry denounces the unfair and discriminatory nature of the measure applied by the EU.

The actors in the sector say the time interval did not allow producers to comply with the new requirements and the Department of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, and Rural Development to set up an appropriate procedure to ensure compliance. new rules.

Moreover, according to the association, the EU’s approach also raises many questions because it suffers from the absence of scientific data and technical justification.

This measure, according to the stakeholders, is not based on an assessment that can allow the measure to be applied according to the circumstances and the risks for the preservation of plants, but on “the hypothesis of a potential appearance of the parasite”.

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