Why is plant quarantine necessary?

A new pest, after arrival and establishment, can rapidly develop into destructive proportions in the absence of natural enemies in the new environment. Plant pest epidemics could result in the loss of agricultural produce. This may adversely affects the food production or an existing export trade. Therefore, the main aim of plant quarantine is to prevent the entry of exotic pests into the country by enforcing laws without which it is hard to obtain compliance.

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What is a quarantine pest

Each country may determine the dangerous pests that must be kept out, controlled, or eradicated by enforcing legal provisions. The Plant Protection Act No. 35 of 1999 considers a Quarantine pest as 'a pest of potential economic or environmental importance to any area within Sri Lanka and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled.

The Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) has made two lists (A1 and A2) of dangerous pests to help the member countries in deciding on quarantine pests:

A1 list contains dangerous pests that are not yet recorded in the Asia and Pacific region.

A2 list contains dangerous pests present but of limited distribution in some countries within the Asia and Pacific region.

What is a regulated pest

Some pests present in Sri Lanka may cause serious outbreaks and hence continuous control programs must be carried out. They are considered as Regulated Pests once the Minister declares them to be so.

What are quarantine strategies

To prevent the entry of dangerous pests into Sri Lanka, plant quarantine could adopt several strategies, such as: -

  • Embargo.
  • Inspection at port of entry.
  • Inspection at port of dispatch.
  • Field inspection during growing season.
  • Treatment as a condition of entry.
  • Post-entry growing and inspection.

Does this mean that all plant materials are contraband


They could be imported following the procedure given subsequently in this book. However, depending on the perceived risk of introduction of dangerous pests into the country, the importation of some plants and plant products are either prohibited or restricted.

Prohibited materials

Coconut, Tea, Rubber, Rice and Cacao- planting materials are some examples (refer to the Plant Protection Act).

These could only be imported in restricted amounts for research by the respective institutes.

Restricted Materials

These materials could be imported by fulfilling the prescribed requirements.

What is an import permit for plants ?

The permit is a document that contains a statement of conditions that must be observed for the importation of plant materials allowed. The issue of the import permit depends upon the risks involved with respect to the plant materials imported and or the country of origin.

What is a phytosanitary certificate

It is a document, which states that the material is free from injurious pests and should confirm to the plant import rules of the importing country. Phytosanitary certificate issued by any country should conform to the model appended to International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). It is issued only after thorough examination of the materials. If necessary, treatments are given so as to conform to the conditions imposed by the importing country. Issuance must be done within 14 days prior to shipment of the material.

Can the Materials Imported with an Import Permit and a Phytosanitary Certificate be Removed without Examination?


Although the materials have been examined in the country of origin, there is a possibility of contamination by pests during transit. Hence all plant materials are subjected to quarantine examination at the port of entry. The plant materials may be retained for detailed examination, for treatment, destruction, or post-entry quarantine observation at the discretion of the plant quarantine officer.

What is the Purpose of Post-entry Quarantine

The main purpose of post-entry quarantine is to observe latent development of symptoms of pests, particularly diseases, for a period of time in a pest-proof house with close drainage and double entry doors

What are the plant quarantine treatments


Usually methyl bromide for fruits, vegetables, plants, nuts, railroad cars,ships, wood products, etc.

Phostoxin (Aluminium phosphoide) for storage grains

  • Hot water bath.
  • Dry heat.
  • Vapor heat
  • Cold treatment
  • Chemical dip.
  • Micronized dust

To obtain relevant information, contact -

Director (Seed Certification & Plant Protection)
No. 1, Sarasavi Mawatha Peradeniya
Phone: 08-388077, 08-388044
Fax: 08- 388077
E-mail: scppc@sltnet.lk
Applications - http://www.doa.gov.lk/index.php/en/2015-09-27-05-42-28/forms-and-guiedlines

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