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Making it Easier for Growers to Ship Produce

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Unless you ship plants and produce internationally, you probably have never heard of a "phytosanitary" certificate. The San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (AWM) issues several of these certificates daily to businesses with international trade. Some foreign countries have strict regulatory requirements for plants and produce coming across their borders. These requirements are in place to protect their own agricultural production from harmful diseases and insects. Phytosanitary certificates let the receiving country know the shipment meets their requirements for entry. The program that is responsible for the information and tracking of phytosanitary certificates lies within the United States Department of Agriculture's Phytosanitary Certification Information and Tracking program (USDA PCIT). The PCIT program assures phytosanitary certificates reach their destination with the shipment and are recoverable if lost, unlike the old paper copies. This system also allows AWM to collect fees online, thus eliminating the need for trust accounts and for inspectors to return to the office everyday to deposit money. PCIT charges are electronically submitted to USDA and once per month they send AWM an itemized account of the certificates issued. Everyone wins in time saved with PCIT!