KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi - The Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) has been trained on the Electronic Certification System(ECS), which is used by plant exporters to facilitate the export of plant produce to the key European Union market.

Users log onto the System using their mobile devices for their phytosanitary certificates, the plant passport necessary in the plant export process that is issued by KEPHIS. The Zambians were also familiarized on the Import Certification System which is used to import plants and plant products.
Plant import and export regulations were among key issues discussed during the benchmarking visit by the Zambia team, which also focused on permitted imports, those under quarantine and prohibited articles. To meet required regulations, countries are to register on the ECS/ICS system which will help in inspection requisition and certificate issuance.

“E-certification has changed the way we do business. The application is easy for traders and has increased accessibility; initially our users were 500 but we can now serve 2000 users. Before we only worked with The Government of the Kingdom of The Netherlands using the system but through enhancing the ECS system we are now working with other countries like Chile, Argentina, China, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, among others,” said Dr. Isaac Macharia, KEPHIS General Manager for Phytosanitary Services.
“Client documentation as well as KEPHIS generation and issuance of phytosanitary certificates has been made easier through ECS. This has extended to international levels and it has made the exchange of phytosanitary certificates easier,” added Dr Macharia.

Despite challenges like outages due to clients logging in at the same time, the System has proved to be useful and fraud and forgery rates have reduced since inception of the System.
Mr. Edgar Mwale, the Director of ZARI said the benchmarking visit would enhance collaboration between KEPHIS and ZARI as well as boost capacity building and market accessibility. He urged KEPHIS to partner with them by sending IT experts to Zambia for further learning on the ECS design, modules and specifications.
The team later toured the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory where they saw how analyses for market access is done for produce destined for the key European Union market.

Dr Isaac Macharia (4th right) KEPHIS GM in charge of Phytosanitary Services with KEPHIS staff and the delegation from the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI). The southern African nation scientists were in KEPHIS to learn about the highly acclaimed Electronic Certification System and the Import Certification System.

Robert Koigi (in white lab coat) takes the team from the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute through produce analysis at the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at KEPHIS Headquarters.

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