As a result of agreements negotiated at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), traditional trade protection measures such as tariffs and quotas are falling away. But to some extent they are being replaced by domestic technical regulations that permit countries to bar products from entering their markets if the products do not meet certain standards. To become and remain competitive, producers and suppliers must meet the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements set by importers’ governments in importing countries. Some SPS measures are very simple and specific, but others are combined in extremely complex systems like the requirements governing the import of plants and plant products for entry in to the European Union (EU). The aim of this study was to evaluate the phytosanitary certification system currently used by the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of South Africa with regard to exports of agricultural produce to the European market and to develop an effective and efficient strategy to ensure compliance with the European Union’s phytosanitary regulations. The expansion of world trade has placed a huge responsibility on the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of South Africa to facilitate safe agricultural trade with its international trading partners. After putting the phytosanitary constraints/ weaknesses faced by the South African Export Regulatory System into perspective, numerous aspects of the export process were considered in this study. The NPPO of South Africa does experience capacity constraints in its phytosanitary export regulatory system mostly due to the recent restructuring of the Department of Agriculture (DOA). This information, combined with background information obtained from the personal experience of the author as a plant health officer for the past ten years at the Department of Agriculture and the analysis of questionnaires indicated that the current phytosanitary certification system are the most fundamental impediment to accessing foreign markets. This is followed by an evaluation of the export certification system to identify the major challenges experienced by the NPPO officials in phytosanitary certification to the European markets. Lack of fundamental scientific knowledge and the inability to interpret the phytosanitary import requirements of the European market were identified as the elementary barriers to phytosanitary compliance. Finally, the accuracy of phytosanitary certification is of paramount importance for international trade. If credibility is lost, this can result in stricter and lengthier inspection procedures in importing countries and eventually loss of markets. This study resulted in the development of a certification guide to equip the NPPO of South Africa with the necessary technical assistance to ensure compliance with the European Union’s phytosanitary regulations. This standard operating procedure (SOP) is currently in used by the certification officials of the DOA.
Dissertation (MInstAgrar)--University of Pretoria, 2011.