The Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service (PQPS) is the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of Zambia and falls under the Ministry of Agriculture. PQPS is mandated to provide services that prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases in the country and facilitate safe local and international trade of plants and plant products through provisions stipulated in the Plant Pests and Diseases Act Cap 233 and the Noxious Weeds Act, Cap 231 of the Laws of Zambia. Zambia being a contracting party to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), PQPS as an NPPO has a further mandate to conform to regulations of the IPPC which is an international treaty relating to plant health. The purpose of the IPPC is to secure common and effective action to prevent the introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control and this is done mainly through setting of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) which act as guidelines to NPPOs.
The IPPC is recognized by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the international standard setting body for plant health. The core function of PQPS is to prevent introduction and spread of plant pests through the enforcement of various phytosanitary measures and procedures to check and direct the movement of all plants and plant products. These measures include phytosanitary inspections, plat pest surveillance and laboratory analyses among others. Despite the benefits of movements of plants and plant products for food security, economic development, plant breeding and others, this movement can also serve as a pathway for introduction and spread of plant pests. The measures and procedures enforced by PQPS therefore aim at protecting the agricultural sector’s plant industry and the environment by intercepting these plant pests before they can establish and cause economic damage.