Plant Protection Division
The Plant Protection Act 2016 directs us to regulate the trade in plants, plant products, and other regulated articles, in order to protect and promote the health of the environment (including forestry and wild flora) by preventing the introduction and spread of plant diseases and alien species.
The goals of the Plant Protection Unit are to:
improve the current plant health system in accordance with international standards and obligations;
develop systems that mitigate the introduction and spread of pests and invasive alien species;
promote the use of integrated pest management strategies and reduce dependence on pesticides in the agricultural sector;
facilitate safe trade of plants, plant products and other regulated articles;
increase public awareness and stakeholder roles in the protection and promotion of plant health; and
improve scientific, quarantine, surveillance and diagnostic capabilities and emergency response systems for pest outbreaks.
Core activities of the Plant Protection Division include:
Hiring of a Plant Health Inspection Coordinator that is responsible for the planning of the inspection program as well as the management and training of all staff involved in inspection activities.
Training of Phytosanitary and Authorized officers that will carry out duties such as: the inspection of plants, plant products or other regulated articles, regulation of phytosanitary measures at borders (ports of entry) and agricultural stations (including plant establishments) for the detection of pests, to prevent their entry into the Bahamas.
Participation in the IPPC's Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation (PCE) logical framework tool, as a means of developing a strategy to address key weaknesses and to generate a strategic framework for enhancing the phytosanitary system in the country.
Devising a regime that will bring The Bahamas into compliance with ISPM-15 to reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of invasive quarantine pests that results from the usage of wood packaging materials (WPMs) for shipping items globally. Regulations have been drafted that will support the adoption of this International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM).
Developing an emergency response plan to swiftly detect, assess, and eradicate critical plant pest and disease infestations; particularly as it relates to the safe provision of aid to prevent the introduction of plant pests during an emergency situation (eg. following natural disasters such as hurricanes that will become more frequent and intense for small island states as a result of climate change).
Conducting risk assessments and surveillance for pests that are present in the region and of quarantine/economic importance to the IPPC and for the creation of a prioritized pest list for the country.
Initiating a nation-wide Fruit fly trapping, monitoring(surveillance) and identification program and to advise on the Red Palm Mite’s (RPM) population and management on key palm handicraft producing islands.
creating/establishing a plant business registration that identifies the owner(s) and location, in accordance with Section 25 of the Plant Protection Act, 2016.
Developing Import Conditions for Plant Products The importation of plants, plant products and other regulated articles to prevent the introduction and spread of new and quarantine pests that can cause significant economic and environmental damage to Bahamian agriculture, forestry and the environment and ensure the effective management of regulated nonquarantine pests. Import requirements for key commodities have been drafted.
Drafting of Plant Protection Regulations that provide measures for controlling and managing pests depending on the risk they represent from an economic, environmental, social, and agricultural point of view.
Adopting CABI's of PestSmart and PlantWise programs to ensure that SPS regulatory and enforcement functions are significantly improved.
International Year of Plant Health (IYPH)
The United Nations declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). The Year was extended until 1 July 2021 due to the postponement of some key initiatives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plant establishments must be registered with BAHFSA in order to obtain a business license. Part of the registration process is an annual inspection.
Pesticides Control Board
Pesticides are used mostly in agriculture and public health for the control of pests and diseases. A recent assessment of the country's plant health system, has brought to light the indiscriminate use of pesticides. In keeping with FAO's Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, BAHFSA as a regulatory body recognizes its responsibility for regulating the availability, distribution, management and use of pesticides along with the development and promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). To this end, BAHFSA is in the process of establishing a Pesticides Control Board and developing a National Pesticide Management Policy that will comply with international standards and result in sustainable growth of the agricultural sector.
The Pesticides Control Board will be tasked tasked with responsibility for licensing, registration, training, inspection and enforcement of pesticide activities that will reduce human health and environment risks and ensure food safety in agriculture production. The Food Safety & Quality Lab will also play a vital role in carrying out formulated pesticide and residual analyses to ensure that agricultural produce is safe for human consumption.
View the Guide to Safe Pesticide Use on the Farm.
Phytosanitary certificates cover the import and export of plants and plant products (eg. seeds, fruits, vegetables, fruit, grain, cut flowers, etc.) globally. They are issued by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the exporting country to the NPPO of the importing country, to indicate that consignments of plants and plant products meet the specified phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. The IPPC has created a centralized web-based system known as the Generic ePhyto National System (GeNS) to facilitate the creation of electronic phytosanitary certificates and also to send and receive them; as an alternative to exchanging paper certificates. The GeNS will greatly assist in improving the security of official communications between countries and the trade flows, by enhancing border access of plants and plant products.
Before importing plants and plant based items, you need to apply for an e-phytosanitary certificate through the BAHFSA e-phyto exchange portal https://bs.ephytoexchange.org/.
Visit the IPPC ePhyto Solution - Training Platform.
Pest Risk Analysis
To prevent the entry and spread of pests of plants, it is important to evaluate potential risks and propose technically justified phytosanitary measures to mitigate these risks. In order to formalize this process, the concept of Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) has been developed and used. The aim of PRA is to decide whether pests should be regulated or not as a quarantine pest and propose risk management options.
Pest Risk Analysis: Process of evaluating biological or other scientific and economic evidence to determine whether a pest should be regulated and the strength of any phytosanitary measures to be taken against it (ISPM 5, FAO).
Pest Risk Analyses must be conducted for plant or plant products being requested for importation.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle Pest Alert
- Carambola Fruit Fly Pest Alert
- Giant African Snail Pest Alert
- Med Fly Pest Alert
- Red Palm Mite Pest Alert
Regulated Pest List
Regulated Pests of Non-Quarantine Importance
Caribbean Fruit Fly
West Indian Fruit Fly
Dark Fruit Fly
Papaya Fruit Fly
Jumping Plant Louse
The American Grasshopper
Pests of Quarantine Importance
Mango Seed Weevil
Avocado Seed Weevil
Mexican Fruit Fly
Papaya Fruit Fly
Carambola Fruit Fly
Oriental Fruit Fly
Mediterranean Fruit Fly
Natal Fruit Fly
Queensland Fruit Fly
Lesser Pumpkin Fly
Japanese Orange Fly
Olive Fruit Fly
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus
Asian Longhorned Beetle
Orange Spiny Whitefly
Black Parlatoria Scale
Trioza erytreae (Aleurodes)
South African Citrus Psyllid
Asiatic Citrus Psyllid
Leaf Cutting Ants
Sweet Potato Moth Borer
Avocado Sweet Moth
Giant South American Snail
Giant African Snail
Asian Giant Hornet
Fusarium oxysporum f.cubens Tropica Race 4
TR4 Panama Disease
Tomato Leaf Miner
Races 2 [Moko Disease] & 3
Frosty Pod Rot
Candidatus Phytoplasma palmae
Lethal Yellowing of Palms
Fiji Disease (Sugarcane);
Bacterial Panicle Blight (Rice)
Red Palm Mite
Red Palm Weevil
Asian Tramp Snail
Spotted Wing Drosophila
* - denotes not economically important
View the Safe Use of Pesticides on the Farm guide.
- Application forms
- Guidelines and Manuals
- Useful links
International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) www.ippc.int/en/
IPPC adopted International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) https://www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/standards-setting/ispms/
Caribbean Agricultural Health & Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) https://www.cahfsa.org/
Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) www.cphdforum.org).
Identification Technology Program http://www.idtools.org/
IPPC Guides and Training Materials https://www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/capacity-development/guides-and-training-materials/
USDA APHIS Plant Import Guidelines USDA APHIS | Plant Import Information
Guidance on how to import and export plants and plant products to and from the UK. Importing and exporting plants and plant products - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance on importing plants and plant products to the EU - Trade in plants & plant products from non-EU countries | Food Safety (europa.eu)
Can I import fruits or vegetables into the Bahamas?
Fruits or vegetables can only be imported into the Bahamas if accompanied by a Valid Import Permit from BAHFSA and the necessary phytosanitary certification requested by the Authority. Additionally, the products may be subjected to Pest Risk Analysis, will need to be inspected by the Quarantine Inspectors at the designated Port of Entry to determine if the commodity complies with the Bahamas’ Sanitary or Phytosanitary requirements. Entry may be refused if the above conditions are not observed.
Can I bring fruits or vegetables in my bag or personal luggage?
Returning residents or visitors entering the Bahamas must declare all agricultural products (including fruits, vegetables, seeds, souvenirs, plants or plant parts, cut flowers, soil, sand, stones, coffee, teas etc.) on their Bahamas Customs forms. Agricultural inspectors will examine your items to be sure they meet entry requirements and do not harbor harmful foreign pests. They also have the authority to make a final determination about whether or not your products can enter the country. Please keep receipts and original packaging of agricultural products as proof of their country of origin.
What should I do if I want to import a product for the first time into the Bahamas?
If you are applying to import a product for the first time then a Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) will need to be conducted. For more information on PRA, please contact the Plant Protection Division of BAHFSA at (242)604-7004; email: [email protected]; [email protected]
Where can I obtain an application form to import a plant or plant product?
How can I obtain a permit for the import of plants and plant products?
Applicant completes and submits the Application to Import Plants and Plant Products form on BAHFSA’s website (www.bahfsabahamas.com). Applicant pays the relevant fee. After approval, the applicant will be issued with the import permit. Applicant submits import permit and phytosanitary certificate from the exporting country to an Agricultural Officer or Customs Officer at the port of entry. Please note an application for imports of plants, plant products and other regulated articles must be made prior to purchase. Applications are available on BAHFSA’s website (www.bahfsabahamas.com) and are processed for a non-refundable fee of $10BSD (Individual) or $20BSD (Commercial).
How can I request an inspection for a plant establishment?
Is there a list of regulated pests for the Bahamas?
The list of regulated pests for the Bahamas can be found on BAHFSA’s website (www.bahfsabahamas.com).
How can I report a pest of national interest?
Can I bring soil or organic fertilizers into the Bahamas?
*Can I ship plants to plant products to other islands in the Bahamas? (in the future once regulations approved)
In order to move a plant, plant product or other regulated article between islands in the Bahamas, a citizen, permanent resident, or incorporated company will need to apply for a movement certificate granted by BAHFSA at least seven days prior to the intended date of movement. The certificate must be transmitted with the consignment or shipping documents.