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Informatics tool for the competitiveness of local food productions from South Mediterranean Countries to European entry points (Italy)

Place: egypt, Africa
Socio-economic dynamics and global markets Socio-economic dynamics and global markets
Total Budget: € 1.647.478,00 | Period: From September 2009 To July 2013


New digital procedures were set up to facilitate trade relations between Egypt and Italy.Control Authorities make available on line and in real time data regarding products sent from Egypt to Italy,by a pilot process of electronic transmission of certificates for export of fruit and vegetables.Egyptian quality control system was re-organized to increase its effectiveness,reducing risk of refusals and raising performance of export food chain.
The project was funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation(MAECI),Ministry of Economic Development(MISE)and Italian Regions within the “National Programme to support Decentralized Cooperation by Italian Regions toward Mediterranean Countries”,from 2009 to 2011.From 2011 the procedure was implemented by Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture-Plant Quarantine Service with support of GOEIC(General Organization for Import and Export Control of Ministry of Trade)and Regional Phytosanitary Service of Friuli Venezia Giulia.


Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Egypt - Egypt

Lead applicant

Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) manages quarantine controls at Egyptian borders to minimize the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. CAPQ also provides import and export inspection and certification to help retain highly favourable agriculture product status and wide access to overseas export markets. The project aimed to support the livelihood in rural areas by improving agricultural practices as well as the quality of fruit and vegetable local production and enhancing the latter on the international market. The project has been funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and the Italian Regions in the frame of the “National Programme to support Decentralized Cooperation by Italian Regions toward Mediterranean Countries”; it has been also funded partially by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) - Italy

Initiative partner

Il Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico comprende attività produttive, commercio internazionale, comunicazioni ed energia.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Directorate General for Development Cooperation - Italy

Initiative partner

L’organizzazione delle attività di Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, componente essenziale della politica internazionale dell'Italia, fa parte dei compiti del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE), che demanda tali attività alla Direzione Generale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (DGCS) che è l’organo preposto ad attuare tale politica, in attuazione della legge n.49/87. La DGCS attua le linee di cooperazione e le politiche di settore nei diversi Paesi, stabilisce rapporti con le Organizzazioni Internazionali, con l’Unione Europea e con le Organizzazioni non governative; programma, elabora ed applica gli indirizzi della politica di cooperazione e le politiche di settore tra cui sanità, ambiente e sviluppo imprenditoria locale; realizza iniziative e progetti nei Pvs; effettua interventi di emergenza e fornisce aiuti alimentari; gestisce la cooperazione finanziaria e il sostegno all’imprenditoria privata e alla bilancia dei pagamenti dei Pvs; promuove e realizza la cooperazione universitaria.

Regional Agency for the rural development - Italy

Initiative partner

It is an executive agency of the Region that works in the field of agriculture, fisheries and acquaculture. It realizes phytosanitary and quality controls of fruits and vegetables at the entry point of Trieste

Apulia Region - Italy

Initiative partner

Coordination of the activities of Italian Regions and their technical agencies

Innovation for Food Safety of Trade Flows The initiative intended to enhance the trading flow between Egypt and Italy improving safety and quality of fresh food products. Advances ICT applications for data collection between the 2 countries have been realized to transfer and sharing of information between the inspection bodies of ingoing and outgoing products between Egypt and Italy. Local and international technical assistance made reliable Egyptian internal control system for the export of food products on international market. The web platform made more transparent export procedures and available on-line and in real time the export documents of fresh potatoes between control Authorities. It allowed to accelerate times of control and customs clearance at the border point, so as to preserve the quality of products, to limit the possibility of error/falsification, to reduce the refusals and to promote the dialogue among public and private organizations involved in trade facilities.

The initiative contributes to the Feeding Knowledge program because it replies to the need of going to the recognition by the EU of Egyptian control services of exported food products. Local and international technical assistance was necessary to make reliable Egyptian internal controls for the exports of food products.
The innovation consists in the creation of a procedure and an ICT tool (web platform) to improve the efficiency of the export flow management, and so to simplify overly bureaucracy, to expedite release and custom clearance, to enhance transparency and cooperation among cross-border public institutions and import-export enterprises.

../file-system/small/pptx ../file-system/small/pptx The web platform The scheme shows the exchange of information in a central server and the possible to use different interfaces to exchange information

In the frame of Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, a third country producer has to be in compliance with the requirements of the EU market (the minimum quality, quality standards, functioning of the inspection and border control systems). The “compliance capacity” is given by chain actors' strategic choices, the chain organization and the relation among actors. The organization of the chain at public and private level, tends to have an influence on the compliance of the end product with requirements of the target market and on the performance of the export chain (quality/safety level, participation and income of producers/exporters). Egyptian potatoes fields are lamped in about 5,400 basins (yearly approved by EU as areas potentially authorized to produce for the export): safeguarding the basins means safeguarding local communities and the rural development.  

The tangible results of the initiative are:
- strengthening of the connection between public and private actors of the export food chain
- interconnection among the Phytosanitary Services and the Port Authority of Trieste and Alexandria that is currently operating
- increasing of the transparency in import-export procedures
implementation of the procedure for the digital emission of the phytosanitary certification of potatoes since 2011 from the port of Alexandria (inspections made by the Plant Quarantine Service of MALR) and the port of Trieste (inspections made by the Regional Phytosanitary Service of ERSA). In 2011 32,000 tons of potatoes passed through the two ports, 68 digital phytosanitary certificates (DPC) issued by the Egyptian authority, 1,400 visual inspections made and 37 lab analyses run at the Italian entry point.During 2012 campaign 55,000 tons of potatoes arrived at Trieste port accompanied by DPC; in 2013 54,600 tons of potatoes came from Egypt to Trieste with the DPC.

../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Meeting between authorities 1 For the first time the control Authorities of Egypt and Italy has met with this initiative.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Meeting between authorities 2 For the first time the control Authorities of Egypt and Italy has met with this initiative.

The beneficiaries of the initiative are:
- Italian and Egyptian control services (Egyptian Plant Quarantine Service, Italian Phytosanitary Service, analytical laboratories, Port Authorities) that can dialogue using ICT tools and became more effective and efficient
- Italian and Egyptian importers/exporters because the procedure reduces time of controls, the possibility of mistakes and falsification, the costs of refusals
- Egyptian producers and producers'organizations that can use GAP in compliance with EU market, increasing the quality  and the added value of products
- Final consumers having more safe fresh products

Partners during a meeting Partners during a meeting
Potatos control at the entry point Potatos control at the entry point
storage of potatos at the entry point storage of potatos at the entry point

• 450 Egyptian agricultural workers
• Producers'association: the main 2 national association that include about the 70% of Egyptian farmers
• Phytosanitary Service of Trieste: 4 operators in charge of controls at the entry points
• Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture - Quarantine Service: the head of the office and 6 operators in charge of control, preparing and sending export documents
• GOEIC: 2 representative of the import/export office
IAMB: 5  agro-food experts and 1 computer expert to coordinate the project

IAMB experts on the job IAMB experts on the job
Operators in packhouses 1 Operators in packhouses 1
operators during the harvest operators during the harvest
operators in packhouses 2 operators in packhouses 2

The main difficult dealt with the implementation of the initiative were:
- Pushing through a change of the internal organization within the public control services
- Harmonization of the language at international level (between Egyptian and Italian organizations)
- Working for the ownership of the all new system (by private and public actors) successfully achieved  through a participatory approach
- Creation of a friendly-user procedure

• the conversion to digital doc can eliminate the presentation of hard copy documents (going paperless);
• a better quality control enhances producers to use eco compatible phytosanitary products to avoid refusals at the control point;
• the initiative reduces food wastes and the energy to storage the products thanks to more fast time of clearance and to the decreasing of refusals.
• reduction of the  environmental impact by reducing queues at the borders and hence fewer  CO2 emissions and less noise pollution.

• Other Mediterranean countries request the creation of similar initiatives to simplify custom clearance and quality control methods; with the project E.H.P.P.C. – Med financed by ENPI Programme a similar procedure is being realized  in Jordan and Lebanon.
• Several European Port Authorities would like to interact with the Egyptian authorities, using the new realized system. 
• Since the end of the project the server is managed by the public institutions (ministry of Agriculture and GOEIC) in Egypt; more border offices could be fostered at the local level  in order to extend the application of the procedure.
• The initiative has foreseen the investment of important resources in the training of operators that continue their duties and ensure the good run of the border office with the implemented innovative techniques and common simplified procedures.

• At the end of the initiative, two videos have been realized in order to explain the achieved results and the web platform for the exchange of export documents.
• The main results or events during the development of the initiative have been described using information sheets sent to a mailing list of stakeholders.
• A brochure has been realized at the end of the initiative.
An international symposium has been realized in occasion of a agricultural fair held in Bari in 2011

../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf information sheet spiie press conference information sheet spiie press conference