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Operational Division

Major Activities of Quarantine Operation Division
  1. Coordination with stakeholders on plant quarantine matters.
  2. Coordination of Export plant nursery inspection and preparation of final test reports as supporting documents to issue phytosanitary certificates
  3. Coordination of activities between the ports of entry and laboratories in testing samples and compilation of final test reports required to release imported consignment.
  4. Destruction of prohibited, problematic or pest infected materials submitted to the National plant protection service (NPQS) laboratories.
  5. Handling of post Entry quarantine activities.
  6. Organizing training and awareness programmes for stakeholders and general public.
  7. Information exchange related to plant quarantine matters with other National Plant Protection Organization (NPPOs)
  8. Compiling documents related to administrative activities, financial and physical progress etc..
  9. Advisory services on phytosanitary matters for stakeholders.
 Coordination with stakeholders on plant quarantine matters.
Stake holders are Importers Exporters, International travelers, Nurserymen, Treatment providers and Growers. Provision of advisory services regarding plant quarantine matters to stake holders is one of the major activities of the operation unit.

Procedure to obtain a phytosanitory certificate for exporting plants & plants products.
A phytosanitory certificate is a document which confirms the health status of a plant material (Plant or plant product) that are exported to a country. The certificate is issued by the NPPO of the country of export confirming required import conditions requested by the country of import.
To obtain a phytosanitary certificate for export ready material from the NPQS:
  • Export ready material should comply with all the relevant laws, regulations and international conventions in Sri Lanka including but not limited to
  • Material that needs special export permits must comply with the requirements (Patented material, prohibited articles etc.)
Process of obtaining a phytosanitary certificate
  1. Please make a request by using an application for phytosanitory certificate for export addressing to Additional Director, National Plant Quarantine Service to fulfill export conditions
  2. Exporter has to set up a date for inspection of consignment with the agreement of the Plant Quarantine Operations Division.

  3. Inspection of production premises and sampling done by the Plant Quarantine Officers
            a. This is done on the agreed date
            b. By the officers of relevant technical divisions
            c. The exporter has to facilitate the official visit and the expenses
            d. Sampling size is decided by the Plant Quarantine officers based on
                   i. The risk associated with the commodity*
                   ii. Importing country requirements
                   iii The type of tests to be performed
                   iv. Size of the consignment
  1. * Sometimes the sampling size may be different for the same commodity based on observable pest symptoms. If the symptoms are obvious, the standard sampling sizes may apply. However, if the symptoms are not obvious, additional sampling may be required to confirm the presence of pests.

    e. Depending on the importing country requirements, specific tests may not be required for some commodities for some countries. Those consignments will be either
    1. Directly submitted to Plant Quarantine Stations at exit ports
    2. Consignments may associate with official confirmation letters issued by the Additional Director/ NPQS confirming that there is no requirement to perform any laboratory test (Eg: import requirement for freedom from red ring nematode, coconut lethal yellowing etc.).
    3. Relevant diagnostic tests are done by the technical laboratories of the NPQS. Time taken for the laboratory test may vary depending on the test type performed.
          f. Test reports are combined and a final report will be compiled and issued to OIC/ Plant Quarantine Stations, Airport, Sea port 
          g. Fumigation of consignment if deemed to be necessary (procedure mentioned under the Treatment Technology Division)
          h. In parallel, the exporter have to submit an application to the Deputy director, Plant Quarantine Station, (Seaport/ Airport) to obtain a
              phytosanitary certificate
          i. Phytosanitory certificate will be issued to the exporter based on tests reports/ visual inspection done by the plant quarantine officers
             at the entry port.

 Coordination of export plant nurseries/factories inspection and preparation of tests reports
Prior to issue of a phytosanitory certificate for export of plant and plant products, the material should be inspected and tested to ascertain the pest freedom for some quarantine pests. Therefore the exporter should make a request from Additional Director ,NPQS specifying the conditions stipulated by the importing country. Upon receipt of such request plant quarantine operations division carry out following activities.

Registration of request
Investigate the request and inform the relevant officers (Entomology/Pathology/Treatment Technology/ Weed Science) for nursery or factory inspection.
Coordinate the nursery/factory inspection & sampling considering the additional declarations and the date of dispatch of the consignment.
Preparation of format for test report and distribute among the relevant laboratories.
Collection of test report prior to date of export and inform contaminants of to the exporter.
Preparation of final test report and send to exit point to issue phytosanitory certificate prior to date of dispatch.
International agreement is that only authorized officers of the official plant protection service  shall issue the phytosanitory certificate for all plant commodities exported.
Phytosanitary certificates are prepared according to the model given by IPPC.
A PSC is issued in three copies in English only. The original and a copy are kept in office and a copy is given to the applicant.
Two different formats are available as Phytosanitory certificate and phytosanitory certificate for re export.
Plant Quarantine inspection process for imported consignments
  • Officers of the Sri Lanka Customs notify the arrival of consignment with a written confirmation to the Plant Quarantine officers at entry ports
  • Documents relevant to the consignment will be inspected by the quarantine officers of NPQS to check whether they comply with the requirements
  • Inspection of consignment by the quarantine inspectors.
  • If deemed necessary the consignment shall be subjected to treatment re-export or destruction.
*Entry into Sri Lanka may be denied to any consignment of plant material, which has been imported without required certificate/carries dangerous pathogen/weed/insect or any other pest.
Plant nurseries/factories inspection, registration and accreditation
The companies who wish to export plants or plant products have to be registered with the NPQS
Further as an import requirement, some Importing countries require the nurseries/ production sites to be accredited.
The Plant Quarantine Operations Division is responsible for these activities.
Due to insufficient certifications, inaccurate declarations, non fulfillment of specific entry conditions and visible pest infestation, plant quarantine officers at entry points can not release the consignment. Under such conditions plant quarantine officers of the entry points seek advice/ further testing from the NPQS. Normally plant quarantine officers of the seaport/airport do sampling and send to NPQS / operation division with a form of submission of intercepted materials.

Testing intercepted material
  1. Sample submitted from entry ports to the Plant Quarantine Operations Division
  2. Registration of intercepted sample with following information.
              a. Date received
              b. Name and address of the importer
              c. Name of the importing country
              d. Permit number and date
              e. PSC number and date
              f. Material and quantity
     3. Based on the reason for interception, samples of the material are distributed to relevant technical laboratories for further testing.    
     4. Printing and distribution of report format to relevant technical laboratories (entomology/pathology/weed science/treatment technology) to
         submit the test results.
     5. Compiling final test reports and final decision to the release of consignment is taking by the Additional Director, National Plant Quarantine
         Service, Katunayake.

Apart from that questionable material carried by the air travelers are detained at the port of entries and send to Additional Director/ NPQS for destruction.

All items prohibited to import to Sri Lanka are liable to confiscation and destruction.  These consignments are destroyed in a manner that is technically justified to be eliminating the associated pest risk under the supervision of the officers of the plant quarantine operation division. The details of the consignments which are subject to destruction are recorded in a separate register.