The IPPC´s ePhyto Business Model -study

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is currently working to establish an Electronic phytosanitary certificate (ePhyto) system consisting of (i) an internationally accessible Hub, “ePhyto Hub”, to facilitate the transfer of electronic phytosanitary certificates between the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and (ii) a generic national system “GeNS” available to countries for the production, sending and receiving of electronic phytosanitary certificates to the ePhyto Hub. The combination of these two systems is referred to as “the ePhyto Solution”. Full details of the ePhyto project, along with all background and explanatory documents, are available on the IPPC website at

This work is being undertaken by the IPPC Secretariat with the financial support of the Standards and Trade Development Facility of the WTO and various donor countries to enhance the safe, secure and efficient trade of plants and plant products, via expanding the use of electronic phytosanitary certificates. By and large, the current exchange of standardized phytosanitary certificates between NPPOs is undertaken on the basis of paper documents. In 2012, an appendix on electronic phytosanitary certification to the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 12 (ISPM 12) was approved, providing guidance on the exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates. Some contracting parties to the IPPC – predominantly developed countries – have made significant advances in developing systems for electronic certification, exploiting this standard. However, these have often required considerable resources to develop the electronic tools necessary for producing, sending and receiving electronic certificates as well as negotiating bilateral agreements with trading partners to allow for exchange.

The IPPC ePhyto Hub, on the other hand, will facilitate electronic exchange based upon a single communication protocol, eliminating the cost and complexity of bilateral exchange protocols. The IPPC project will also provide a simple generic web-based system (GeNS) to issue, send and receive electronic phytosanitary certificates, for those countries that do not have an existing national system today. Ultimately, the combination of these two systems will make it easier for countries – especially those with limited resources – to exchange electronic phytosanitary certificates.

The FAO has contracted TDAF Consulting ( to develop the business model for the ePhyto Solution and this work is being undertaken by Mr Tom Butterly, TDAF Director and Lead Consultant, along with Dr. Juha Hintsa and Ms. Susana Wong from CBRA. The TDAF and CBRA team have been gathering related information on the business models and experiences of National Single Windows (NSW), Port Community Systems (PCS) and related International Organizations (IO) all around the world. If you represent a NSW, a PCS or an IO and you are interested in providing useful information on your business model related to this topic, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Wong (

In addition, the team will carry out a survey of the NPPOs and business users to determine their preferences (i) regarding the funding / financing model as well as (ii) the benefits and key attributes that they would anticipate seeing in the IPPC ePhyto solution.

For further information related to the business model aspect of this project, please contact Tom Butterly:


CBRA Blog on 29.8.2017 by Ms. Susana Wong