KENYA – The Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) Horticultural Crops Directorate’s Nairobi Packhouse has received the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification (SANS 10330:2020) from the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

This certification is poised to open up international markets for horticulture processors and packaging companies, particularly startups and medium-scale exporters/importers of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.

The HACCP system serves as a robust framework for monitoring the entire food system, from harvesting to consumption, aiming to mitigate the risk of food-borne illnesses and ensure food safety.

The certification ceremony, held at a Nairobi hotel, was attended by Industry PS Dr Juma Mukhwana, who highlighted the government’s commitment to securing markets for Kenyan products.

The ceremony was also witnessed by other distinguished figures including Trademark Africa’s Country Director Mr. Ahmed Farah, Hon. Cornelly Serem – AFA Chairman, Dr. Rosebellah Lang’at – AFA Board member, Eng. Zakaria Lukorito – Ag. Director Standards Development and Trade at KEBS, Grace Kyalo – Ag. Director AFA Fibre Crops Directorate, and Christine Chesaro Rotich – Ag. Director AFA Horticultural Crops Directorate.

To achieve this, the government is implementing County Aggregation and Industrial Parks (CAIPs), wherein each county identifies three to five value chains for aggregation and value addition. A total investment of Sh4.5 billion from both the national and county governments has been allocated for the construction of CAIPs in the current financial year.

Highlighting the employment potential of the manufacturing sector, Dr Mukhwana emphasized the need for value addition to products. The Nairobi Packhouse’s HACCP certification is seen as a crucial step in meeting international standards, ensuring comfort for international buyers and expanding markets for Kenyan horticulture products.

AFA Board Chairman Cornelly Serem stressed the importance of packaging standards, urging the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to establish guidelines for packaging materials and design. Standardized packaging, Serem argued, would prevent inconsistencies in size and design, enhancing the appeal of Kenyan products in international markets.

Christine Chesaro, the Acting Director of the Horticultural Crops Directorate, mentioned that the Nairobi Packhouse has already benefited small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing fully equipped facilities for packaging. The certification process, initiated in 2017, involved rigorous audits, and the final certification from KEBS.

The attainment of international standards by the Nairobi Packhouse is anticipated to bolster the horticulture industry, create employment opportunities, and enhance the global competitiveness of Kenyan horticultural products.

Recognizing the significance of adherence to this standard, various training courses are available to aid organizations in implementing SANS 10330:2020 requirements.

For instance, BSI offers a comprehensive 2-day virtual classroom course aimed at equipping participants with the knowledge to develop and implement HACCP food safety plans using the CODEX HACCP methodology, ensuring effective compliance with SANS 10330:2020.

AFA, established under the Agriculture and Food Authority Act No 13 of 2013, operates within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives.

Its primary role involves regulating, developing, and promoting scheduled crops’ value chains to foster Kenya’s economic growth.

Within AFA, the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) plays a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the horticulture industry.

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