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What is a Fumigation Certificate and why is it required in exports?

A fumigation certificate validates that wooden boxes in a particular shipment are chemically disinfected. In this blog, learn everything you wanted to know on fumigation certificate and its importance in exports.
What is a Fumigation Certificate
It is important for products being exported from India to international markets to meet the global quality standards and ensure that the final goods that customers receive have no damage. After a shipment is packed and ready for transit, there are chances of pest infections and infestation by viruses or termites. To ensure that the cargo being exported is safe and of good quality, exporters need to ensure necessary steps have been taken for disinfection. It is mandatory in most countries like UK, USA, Australia and Japan to fumigate shipment containers before they are shipped from the origin country1.

Conducted by a team of certified experts, the fumigants are usually filled into the export shipment or container. The chemicals most commonly used for carrying out the process of fumigation are methyl bromide and phosphine. The department of Plant Quarantine Government of India, Faridabad, is an approved fumigator that inspects the consignment and issues a fumigation certificate, which confirms that the export products have been fumigated.

Did you know?

Fumigation is a method of disinfecting a shipment or an enclosed space that is suspected to have pests.

How is the process of fumigation carried out?

There are two primary methods in the fumigation process that exporters initiate before the cargo is shipped from India2:

Full Container Load method:

In the FCL method, the fumigant is passed into the container, held for some time and then ventilated. After this, the doors are sealed and the shipment is ready for transit.

Loose Container Load method:

The LCL fumigation method is used for goods that do not occupy the whole container. In this process, the fumigation is done under gas-proof sheeting. The shipment is kept under an airtight sheet for a while and then, the space is ventilated to disperse fumigants.

What is a Fumigation Certificate?

A Fumigation Certificate is an official document that validates that all boxes or shipment containers have been chemically disinfected. During export, products are usually stored in wooden boxes that must be fumigated before transit to avoid the risk of pest infestation. After successful completion of fumigation, a Fumigation Certificate is issued.

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) is a treaty that details out international measures applied to wooden packaging materials to control the risk of pest infestation associated with wood pallets.

Countries that export and import goods have established National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO), which ensure that phytosanitary measures and international standards have been met. They issue a Phytosanitary Certificate at the time of import3. The key difference between a Fumigation Certificate and a Phytosanitary Certificate is that the former is issued by the organization that completes a fumigation process, while the latter is issued by a Government organization (NPPO) to confirm that the cargo in transit is treated to get rid of pests.
Following are a few of the details in a Fumigation Certificate:
• Certificate ID
• Details of issuing organization
• Description, number and details of the cargo
• Name of the fumigant used
• Purpose of treatment
• Exporter’s address
• Importer’s address
• Container details
• Destination/entry port of the cargo

How to get a Fumigation Certificate to export from India?

To get a Fumigation Certificate, an exporter can follow the below-mentioned process4:
• An exporter must submit an application to the officer-in-charge of the concerned PQ station at the designated port from where the goods will be exported.
• The PQ officer draws out an appropriate size of sample for lab testing.
• The samples are then tested. If any insect infestation is found, then the exporter arranges fumigation of the consignment at an approved place by the fumigation operator. The fumigation fees shall be paid by the exporter.
• Post that, the Fumigation Certificate is issued to the exporter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who issues a Phytosanitary Certificate?
A Phytosanitary Certificate for export is issued by the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO).
Is a Fumigation certificate required for wood packaging material?
Yes, fumigation needs to be carried out on all wooden packaging materials to be exported.
What should be kept in mind before the fumigation process?
• Keep a note of the export products that cannot be exposed to the fumigant.
• Wooden containers must be placed at an adequate distance from each other.
• Fumigation must be performed by an experienced person keeping in mind all the guidelines.
What other export documents do I need to export from India?
Import Export Code, Authorized Dealer code, Importer of Record and Letter of Undertaking are some of the key documents required to export from India. Along with this, depending on your business, products you are exporting and destination country, you might need additional documents like FSSAI license for consumables, etc.
Published on June 21, 2022.

Sources:
1. http://seafreightglobal.com/shipping-documents/fumigation-certificate.html
2. https://plantquarantineindia.nic.in/pqispub/docfiles/Appendix-6.htm
3. https://agricoop.nic.in/sites/default/files/draft121214.pdf
4. https://plantquarantineindia.nic.in/pqispub/html/ExpCertReq.htm
5. http://ppqs.gov.in/sites/default/files/nspm_12.pdf
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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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