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Plant Health Import Requirements

The World Trade Organisations’ Agreement of the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (WTO – SPS Agreement) and the international plant health standard-setting body that it recognises, namely the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), give members the sovereign right to protect plants and the environment within their borders against foreign organisms. Even so, members are obliged to ensure that the regulatory measures they implement for protection against pests are
  • (1) technically justified by means of Pest Risk Analysis (PRA),
  • (2) be least trade restrictive, and
  • (3) be non-discriminatory.

So, when an importer applies for a plant health import permit (Import permit application form) with the Directorate Plant Health, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DPH-DALRRD) for a specific commodity of plant origin from a particular market, and no import conditions exist, the PRA process is initiated.
Usually the exporting country’s plant health authority is then requested to provide DPH-DALRRD with a pest information package to confirm the pests present in its territory and to speed up the PRA process.

The outcome of the PRA process is a  set of import conditions that are commodity and country of origin specific. These conditions will only be enforced after it has been agreed upon bilaterally. Upon agreement DALRRD will issue an import permit to the importer in accordance with the Agricultural Pest Act, 1983 (Act No 36 of 1983).

The exporter must ensure compliance to the import conditions and should present the consignment to the exporting country’s plant health authorities for phytosanitary inspection and certification. The phytosanitary certificate must be presented upon arrival together with the import permit to the  DALRRD Agricultural Product Inspection Services (APIS) inspector.

Compliant consignments will be released. Non-compliant consignments will be rejected and ordered to be (1) destroyed or (2) returned or (3) treated, if a suitable mitigation treatment is available. DALRRD will notify the plant health authorities in the exporting country of intercepted consignments and the reason for interception. Repeated interceptions may lead to a revision of the import requirements.

Plant Health Import legislation
The purpose of the Agricultural Pests Act, 1983 (Act No. 36 of 1983) and its subordinate legislations is to provide for measures by which agricultural pests may be prevented and combated and for matters connected therewith.

Import regulations
R111 of 27 Jan 1984 regulate the importation of plants, plant products and other regulated articles by means of import permit. Regulation R. 111 was amended by the following amendments.
R.2350 of 14 November 1986
R.75 of 18 January 1991
R.1637 of 27 October 1995
R190 of 11 March 2011

Government notices
Government notice R 1013 of 26 May 1989 as amended regulates the importation of controlled goods without a permit, subject to requirements stipulated in that notice. Notice R. 1013 was amended by the following amendments.
R 2252 0f 26 November 1993
R 57 of 8 January 1999
R 306 of 15 March 2002
R 830 of 21 June 2002
R 1058 of 27 October 2006
R49 of 05 February 2010

National Control Measures
Control Measures R. 110 of 27 January 1984; provides for national control of pests of plants, plant products and other regulated articles thereby prohibiting the movement of infected plant material from pest infected areas to pest free areas.

More information can be obtained from:
Directorate Plant Health
Private Bag X14, Gezina, 0031
Division: Policy Norms and Standards
Tel: 012 319 6164/012 319 6116
Fax: 012 319 6025
Email: 

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