KENYA – The government has ordered exporters of fresh produce to Europe to either adhere to the laid down health standards or close shop as the country fights to save the multi-billion shilling horticulture sector from collapse.
The warning comes ahead of a visit by a delegation from the European Union next week to review progress made by the government in enforcing compliance with the set Maximum Residual Levels, proper documentation and control of pests or organic organisms.
A year has passed since the EU raised safety concerns that saw Kenya placed on the list of countries flouting the levels allowed in beans and peas exported to Europe.
Addressing a stakeholders meeting at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) headquarters in Nairobi Thursday, Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki declined an appeal by dealers to adjust regulations for exports saying they must comply.
“Prudent management of produce documentation processes and packaging should be put in place to ensure compliance,” Ms Kariuki said.
Kephis general manager in charge of phytosanitary services Abed Kagundu, said a risk profile will be conducted on exporters to isolate those whose products are frequently intercepted as a result of failure to meet the required standards to sell in the European Union market.
MAKE IT EASIER
“This will make it easier to monitor exporters and isolate those companies that are major culprits. This will ensure that we use the available resources more prudently,” he said.
Stakeholders including farmers, exporters, logistics companies representatives among others, were told that the number of interventions had drastically reduced in the last two months with none reported this month.
Exporters will be required to obtain phytosanitary certificate for all their produce even for countries that did not demand them at the point of destination. Some of the exporters were using forged papers while others were inflating the number of boxes leading to interceptions.
Kenya has been given up to the end of this month to reduce the amount of pesticides traceable in horticulture products or face possible trade restrictions.
The country has been on the EU radar for the last three years resulting in 10 per cent of export volume being subjected to inspections due to breach of the minimum residual levels.