KENYA – The European Union (EU) has granted Kenya €5 million (US$6 million) to support its horticultural sector achieve sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) as required by the export markets.
Under a four-year plan dubbed New Export Trade (NExT), EU aims at increasing the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income.
Deputy Head of Delegation, EU to Kenya, Katrin Hagemann, said this will be achieved through the generation of employment opportunities and foreign currency.
She said to improve food security safety and nutrition there is need to increase the resilience, inclusiveness and sustainability of Kenyan horticultural value chains.
The programme targets the whole value chains with specific focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the private and public services that support the horticultural sector
“This €5 million (US$6m) programme aims to secure lasting improvement in the capacity of all stakeholders to adapt to evolving sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), commercial, social and environmental requirements on local, regional and international markets.”Deputy Head of Delegation, EU to Kenya – Katrin Hagemann
Conceptualised by the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) in consultation with stakeholders, Hagemann said the NExT Kenya programme is in the context of the European Green Deal -a set of policy initiatives that seeks to make Europe climate neutral by 2050.
Speaking during the digital NExT status event, Hagemann reiterated the EU commitment to assist Kenya achieve compliance of horticultural exports to sanitary and phytosanitary standards under the next programme.
“This €5 million programme aims to secure lasting improvement in the capacity of all stakeholders to adapt to evolving sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), commercial, social and environmental requirements on local, regional and international markets,” she said.
“Kenya’s horticultural export trade continues to focus on Europe – made up of 27 Member States, with a population of around 506 million, the largest trading bloc in the world – and is looking to develop new destinations in Africa and beyond,” he added.
On his part, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Crops Development and Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Prof. Hamadi Boga, underscored the importance of such investments in ensuring the competitiveness of Kenyan horticultural products in the global market.
The Programme Coordinator, Dr. Chagema Kedera, noted that one of the key aims of the NExT programme will be to reinforce capacity across the sector by involving both private and public players.
“A key aim of the programme is to reinforce the capacity of agribusinesses and Business Member Organisations (BMOs) in the sector, focusing on good agricultural practices; compliance with standards and market requirements; access to markets; market intelligence; access to finance, and business skills.
“At the same time, the programme sets to improve the capacity of the public sector especially the competent authorities to strengthen the competitiveness of the Kenyan origin,” he highlighted.
Kenyan mangoes to re-enter European market after almost a decade long ban
Kenya has been battling with sanitary and phytosanitary issue of fresh produce, with the country recently announcing that it is set to resume export of mangoes to the lucrative multi-billion European market after an eight-year hiatus following a self-imposed suspension.
The ban was as a result of the fruit flies menace which was first discovered in the country in 2003 from Sri Lanka.
The emergence of the fruit fly in Kenya led to numerous interceptions of mango consignments by the EU authority between 2010 and 2014.
As a result, Kenya imposed a temporary self-export ban to protect the market and institute acceptable pest management measures.
The measures seem to have bore fruits as the EU has approved Kenya to commence exports of produce in September 2020 after tests indicated low levels of insect incidence.