In April 2016, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) submitted a proposal to PPECB for collaboration towards seamless inspection and certification services of citrus exports to the European Union (EU). DAFF, through the National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa (NPPOZA), is responsible for phytosanitary certification. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in Article IV empowers the NPPOZA as contracting member state to exercise certain responsibilities including, but not limited to:
- Issuance of certificates relating to the phytosanitary regulations of the importing contracting party for consignments of plants, plant products and other regulated articles;
- The inspection of consignments of plant products moving in international traffic and, where appropriate, the inspection of other regulated articles, particularly with the object of preventing the introduction and/or spread of pests;
- The disinfestation and disinfection of consignments of plants, plant products and other regulated articles moving in international traffic, to meet phytosanitary requirements; and
- Maintenance of phytosanitary security of consignments after certification regarding composition, substitution and reinfection.
The NPPOZA Directorate of Inspection Services (DIS) and PPECB have previously collaborated on some of the above mentioned aspects which has proved to benefit both the regulatory system and growers/exporters. An opportunity arose for DAFF to delegate the entire operational responsibilities, including the issuance of phytosanitary certification, to PPECB which started in the 2017 citrus export season.
During the 2017 citrus season the PPECB conducted 11, 672 orchard inspections and over 28, 593 phytosanitary certificates were issued. Following the successful completion of the year-long project the PPECB is proud to announce that the decision was made by DAFF to extend the phytosanitary certification activities delegation for citrus export to the EU to PPECB by an additional two years (2018-2019). The emphasis for this mandate deals with the following matters that the PPECB rightly implemented:
- Pre-harvest orchard inspections for all PUCs exporting to the EU;
- Latent symptom expression test of Valencia’s;
- 600 fruit sampling per 30 tonnes at intake before sorting in the pack house;
- Cooling/fruit age re-inspection; and
- Issuing of phytosanitary certification for the EU member countries.
Through providing phytosanitary certification services for citrus exports to the EU the PPECB believes it is better positioned to provide an efficient service to its clients and thus contribute to its strategic objective of supporting the competitiveness of South African perishable products.