First and fourth authors: Business Economics Group; second author: Crop and Weed Ecology Group; and third author: Horticultural Production Chains Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Phytosanitary inspection of imported plants and flowers is a major means for preventing pest invasions through international trade, but in a majority of countries availability of resources prevents inspection of all imports. Prediction of the likelihood of pest infestation in imported shipments could help maximize the efficiency of inspection by targeting inspection on shipments with the highest likelihood of infestation. This paper applies a multinomial logistic (MNL) regression model to data on import inspections of ornamental plant commodities in the Netherlands from 1998 to 2001 to investigate whether it is possible to predict the probability that a shipment will be (i) accepted for import, (ii) rejected for import because of detected pests, or (iii) rejected due to other reasons. Four models were estimated: (i) an all-species model, including all plant imports (136,251 shipments) in the data set, (ii) a four-species model, including records on the four ornamental commodities that accounted for 28.9% of inspected and 49.5% of rejected shipments, and two models for single commodities with large import volumes and percentages of rejections, (iii) Dianthus (16.9% of inspected and 46.3% of rejected shipments), and (iv) Chrysanthemum (6.9 and 8.6%, respectively). All models were highly significant (P < 0.001). The models for Dianthus and Chrysanthemum and for the set of four ornamental commodities showed a better fit to data than the model for all ornamental commodities. Variables that characterized the imported shipment's region of origin, the shipment's size, the company that imported the shipment, and season and year of import, were significant in most of the estimated models. The combined results of this study suggest that the MNL model can be a useful tool for modeling the probability of rejecting imported commodities even with a small set of explanatory variables. The MNL model can be helpful in better targeting of resources for import inspection. The inspecting agencies could enable development of these models by appropriately recording inspection results.