THE Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) has made a plea to people importing or exporting plants to get the required legal documents and permits to do so. It said this regulation and by extension “Plant Quarantine” was necessary to monitor and prevent the introduction and spread of insect pests, diseases, and weeds.
In a media release MALF said the unsupervised importation of plant and plant products into the country poses a threat to the natural environment, food security and the economy.
The Plant Quarantine Service (PQS) a division at the MALF is the only agency authorised to issue plant import permits and phytosanitary certificates.
PQS regulates trade through the issuance of plant import permits which cover plant and plant products such as goods from live plants, all seeds for propagation, cut flowers and foliage, peas, beans, fruits, vegetables and lumber. It also facilitates exports from TT, and also ensures the right importing conditions are met and issues phytosanitary certificates to exporters.
MALF has also noted that the purchase plant and plants products bought through the internet on sites such as Amazon also needed to have the required import permits and certification. This requirement was also mandatory for air travelling and ordering through mail or courier services.
It warned unauthorized imports will be confiscated at the border, destroyed and fines and imprisonment can be additional penalties.