SHAFFE, the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters together with Freshfel Europe and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, held two webinars on the state of play of electronic phytosanitary certificates to create a truly global outreach. At the centre of the meetings was the evolution of the IPPC ePhyto Hub, a global transmission system for phytosanitary certificates to which nearly 50 countries have been connected already. With around about 260 participants, the webinars bridged the gap between the global fruit industry and policy makers. Co-moderated by Philippe Isler, director of the Alliance, and Nelli Hajdu, Secretary General of SHAFFE, the webinar addressed key challenges such as different safety requirements, competition of the ePhyto hub with bilateral channels and different speeds of onboarding – while the fruit sector underlined the urgency to go completely go paperless.
The meeting, which was attended by fruit and vegetable business together with NPPO representatives from all over the world, covered three major elements: 1) to create more global awareness on the IPPC ePhyto solution as a simple, inclusive and safe transmission tool for electronic phytosanitary certificates, 2) to motivate NPPO’s all over the world to streamline endeavours and to implement this global solution, to facilitate trade for perishable goods, and 3) also to reveal and discuss the practical challenges in the implementation process together with the fruit sector. With bridging the gap between policy and business, the program included short introductions of key objectives and elements of concern of the global fruit industry with regard to the ePhyto solution presented by SHAFFE presidency team Charif Christian Carvajal and.Marta Betancur as well as Freshfel General Delegate Philippe Binard with further explanations on the status and roll out of the project by Mr. Craig Fedchock, Senior Advisor to the IPPC ePhyto project and Mattia Wegmann from the GIZ.
SHAFFE Secretary General Nelli Hajdu highlighted in her intervention the strong fragmentation of the global fruit trade and the need for swift progress towards electronic phytosanitary certificates. While the global fruit industry has been managing well through the pandemic and even increased its global value (+3%, $ 100 billion USD), the global pandemic with the omission of airfreight and courier services has been challenging the in-time delivery of original phytosanitary certificates and revealed the vulnerability of global trading operations. The fruit sector welcomed the swift emergency measures implemented by NPPO’s all over the world. Nonetheless, the practical implementation is challenged by the evolution of different transmission systems, a lack of communication and understanding of the different national regulatory requirements for e-certification which in particular backfires in concrete at custom operations level, when inspector are not trained to take ownership on the solutions offered and last but not least the different security requirements diverging from electronic seals to QR codes, challenging the harmonised implementation all over the world.