Steps to exporting plant products

Plant health (phytosanitary) requirements differ widely from country to country, so you need to comply with the requirements of your destination market. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

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What you need to know

An overview of exporting plant products from start to finish.

Plant products included in this export process

The plant products covered by this export process are those not for human consumption. They include:

  • nursery stock (aquatic plants, budwood, cuttings, tree ferns)
  • cut flowers, bulbs, and foliage (fresh and dried)
  • seed potatoes
  • dried fungi, lichens, and algae
  • growing media (peat, composts)
  • plant microorganisms, biological products, and lab specimens.

To export plant products successfully you need to know about:

  • the phytosanitary (plant health) and labelling requirements for your destination country
  • complying with extra phytosanitary requirements for specific commodities, where necessary
  • using MPI-authorised Independent Verification Agencies (IVAs) or MPI-approved service providers or facilities for phytosanitary activities
  • the export requirements set by the industry sector.

You may have to meet other requirements as well. These requirements might be commercial, or set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service (NZ Customs). It will also pay to check with your importing agent in the destination country to make sure you haven't overlooked any requirements.

Extra phytosanitary requirements for some plant products

Official Assurance Programmes (OAPs) describe the phytosanitary requirements of an importing country – usually for specific commodities. Exporters must meet the requirements. Some plant products have extra requirements or assurance processes to follow. These products are:

  • tulip and lily bulbs exported to Japan
  • cut flowers and foliage exported to the United States of America (USA)
  • seed potatoes exported to some specified countries
  • tree ferns exported to European Union (EU) countries.

If you plan to export these products, check what else you may need to do in the OAP for your product.

All plant export OAP documents are listed in the section on Requirements.

You can only access the password-protected OAP documents if you're a registered programme participant or IVA.

To access these documents, you will first need to select the document you wish to view, and then sign in to RealMe.

Cut flowers and foliage to the USA

Seed potatoes

Some countries require potato cyst nematode (PCN) or potato wart freedom declarations. 

Tree ferns to the EU 

Tulip and lily bulbs to Japan

Exporting related products

Export processes related to plant products are provided elsewhere on this website. Follow these steps if you're exporting:

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete to export plant products.

Check and comply with phytosanitary requirements

Each country has different phytosanitary (plant health) requirements. For most countries, you can find out the requirements by reading the Importing Countries Phytosanitary Requirements (ICPR).

If your export destination has an ICPR, you need to comply with the requirements and contact an MPI-authorised Independent Verification Agency (IVA) for help. There may be other requirements (like documentation, tests, or treatments) that the IVA will be able to advise you about. Fees may apply.

When there's no ICPR

For countries that don't have an ICPR, you may need an import permit. Ask your import agent in the destination country to check their country's requirements.

You can read more about phytosanitary certificates issued when there's no ICPR in Section 3.3.2 of the MPI Certification Standard: Assurance System Framework.

Check the industry group's requirements

There may be requirements that have been set by industry group.

Check the destination country's labelling and packaging requirements

There may be packaging or other labelling requirements for your product. Ask your importer or agent about any requirements your product needs to meet.

Check wood packaging requirements

If you use wood packaging products other than paper for your export product, check that your wood packaging meets the phytosanitary requirements of the destination country. Most countries require you to treat wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases.  

Request a phytosanitary certificate, if required

Phytosanitary certificates are issued only when it's determined by MPI that your products meet all of the importing country's phytosanitary requirements.

If you need a phytosanitary certificate, request it through MPI's online phytosanitary certification system – ePhyto. You can either register to use ePhyto yourself or contact an IVA to discuss your options.

You may need to include the certificate in the documents you give to your freight or shipping company.

Already registered with ePhyto?

New to using ePhyto?

Getting your export documentation

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

You've met MPI requirements when you're issued with all of the approved documentation, like a phytosanitary certificate, as required by the destination country.


Who to contact

MPI uses authorised Independent Verification Agencies (IVAs) to provide information for exporters, including destination country requirements, ePhyto requests and verification, phytosanitary inspection, and pest surveys.

If you have questions about phytosanitary requirements, contact an IVA.

For other enquiries, email

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