Electronic certification: Tanzania-Netherlands collaboration to boost horticulture industry

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Tanzania and the Netherlands have joined forces to enhance electronic certification (E-cert) for sanitary and phytosanitary procedures in the Tanzanian horticulture industry. This collaboration aims to boost agriculture trade efficiency, generate more job opportunities, and increase foreign revenues.

Tanzania’s horticulture industry has experienced rapid expansion over the past three decades, making it one of the country’s main sources of foreign income. Around 4.5 million farmers, both small- and large-scale, primarily rely on this industry for their livelihood, with the majority being women and young people.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed

On Tuesday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at the Ministry of Agriculture in Dodoma, Tanzania, by Permanent Secretary Gerald Mweli and Ambassador Wiebe de Boer, representing the Netherlands’ Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality.

The MOU outlines the specific areas of collaboration between the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority (TPHPA), and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).

Dutch Expertise to Support Sustainable Horticulture Commerce

The Netherlands will provide Tanzania with expertise, skills, technology, and innovations for sustainable horticulture commerce to meet the increasing need for food in Tanzania and the surrounding region. Ambassador de Boer noted that the two nations have a long-standing cooperation that spans over 40 years, with approximately 80 Dutch companies operating in Tanzania. Of these, 70% have invested in the agricultural sector, with the majority in the horticultural industry.

Benefits of Electronic Certification

Electronic certification is expected to bring many benefits to the Tanzanian horticulture industry. TPHPA provides a significant number of certificates each year, and writing and signing each one by hand is time-consuming. Paper certificates are also permanent records that cannot be changed if an input error is made or if the features of the export consignment change while the export is being processed. In addition, in the normal course of export operations it may be necessary to change the quantity of goods shipped.

With E-cert, a shipment’s history can be pre-cleared by port officials in an importing country before its arrival, reducing delays at ports, even for regular goods. E-cert will also increase market access for Tanzanian horticultural products by meeting the phytosanitary requirements of importing countries.