We can double Kenya’s horticulture export earnings

Business Daily Kenya:  Hosea   Machuki Kenya’s horticulture sector is set to undergo major changes as the country fights to consolidate it...

Business Daily Kenya: 

A farmer picks avocados. Adoption of better agricultural practices by farmers was key in having a ban on Kenya’s horticulture produce to the EU lifted last year. PHOTO: FILE

Hosea Machuki

Kenya’s horticulture sector is set to undergo major changes as the country fights to consolidate its international markets.

Through a new standard, the KS1758 (Part Two) for fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, the sector will be put under regulations that must be proved before being allowed to handle export produce.

It means that from farm to folk, all processes along the chain must be recorded as a measure to show that a product has adhered to every laid down procedure without exception.

The processes are captured in an electronic system called the National Horticulture Traceability System which raises the red flag at the earliest detection of negligence.

No produce will hence move to the next stage without undergoing these checks, essentially eliminating the possibility of contaminated products getting to the final end.

 Kenya has since 2012 faced challenges in the European Union market over cases  of excess pesticide residues and quarantine pests that has cost the country billions of shillings in export losses, leading to the new development.

Horticulture industry, government and development partners have spent the last five years developing systems to ensure these challenges do not haunt the sector ever again.

 The KS1758 (Part Two) standard will be launched  next month together with an umbrella council created by Kenya Flower Council (KFC) and FPEAK to enable articulation of specific sector concerns jointly. Initially, the Council and FPEAK dealt with sub-sector matters individually leading to delays in responding as well as increased costs but going forward, biting issues will be jointly addressed. 

Kenya Horticulture Council is not a merger as has been reported in the past, but a joint body that will be looking at shared industry issues like lobbying, traceability and marketing.

Both KFC and FPEAK will continue to implement their separate mandates individually. Both the Council and the National Traceability System have been supported by USAid through Kenya Agriculture Value Chain Enterprises.

KS 1758 (Part Two) comes two years after its predecessor; KS 1758 Flowers and Ornamentals was launched in 2015. Both  standards bring all exporters and handlers under a standard practice and will be the basis on which export permits are issued in the coming years.

This will eliminate the possibility of any rogue practice and lack of proper documentation that has in the past led to expensive interceptions at the market entry in the EU.

 Horticulture is key to the economy and has put the country in the world map, as our produce – flowers, fruits and vegetables enjoy unmatched demand based on quality, taste and availability all year round.

Latest data indicates the sector earned Sh102.5 billion in foreign exchange last year, the second largest after tea.

The writer is the Chief Executive Officer Fresh  Produce Exporters Association of Kenya

The post We can double Kenya’s horticulture export earnings appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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