Companies and individuals wishing to import and sell seeds from overseas into the country are strongly advised to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2013 regulations.
Director of Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Francis Tsatsia, issued the warning after his officers together with the RSIPF officers confiscated dozens of illegally smuggled planting seeds from eight Chinese shops in Honiara during a joint operation on the 25th of January 2021.
Mr. Tsatsia said the discovery showed people who have no respect to our laws adding those who continue to violate the Biosecurity Act and involve in such unlawful practice/importation may face legal consequences.
“It is the responsibility of Biosecurity to (must) ensure what is regulated under the Act in terms of goods imported and exported must be adhere to at all times.
“There is a procedure established under the Biosecurity Act on how to import seeds for planting in this particular case. Seeds for planting is a regulated goods which means it has some elements of risk associated with if imported without Biosecurity risk analysis processes. Other pests and diseases that are seed born can be transmitted through seed and can spread to Solomon Islands if Biosecurity process is not followed. The risk is real and in most cases cannot be detected by eye sight,” the Director explained.
He further said for companies and individuals to have certification to import seeds of any sort for planting and selling in the country they must obtain an “Import Permit” from BSI.
“It is a requirement by law and companies or individuals that want to import seeds must have an import permit issued by Biosecurity Solomon Islands first before they can bring in seeds for planting into Solomon Islands.
“It is also important for companies and individuals to (must) consult Biosecurity office to get update information on how to import and to ensure your source or the supplier is approved under Biosecurity law. Non-compliance to these legal requirements will resulted in fine and imprisonment as these requirements are important to ensure we do not bring in any pests and diseases into Solomon Islands,” Mr. Tsatsia emphasised.
He stated that BSI has a list of approved companies where seeds can be imported from adding not all countries can supply seeds for planting to Solomon Islands. “Only those that met Solomon Islands import condition can supply seeds for planting into the country.
“Seed for planting is just one regulated article which is prescribe and requires a permit prior to importing. Other plants and their products, animal and their products also have the same requirements if anyone is interested to import to Solomon Islands. It is best to check with Biosecurity staff first if you are to bring any plants, animal and their products into Solomon Islands,” he added.
Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) is a department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL).
Guided by the Biosecurity Act 2013, and associated regulations and orders, the Biosecurity Department is responsible for maintaining effective biosecurity to protect the country from pest and diseases, controlling pests and diseases that may enter the country, negotiating market access requirements for agricultural goods being exported and imported and facilitating trade in compliance with international standards.