KENYA – The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) has provided training to assist Kenya in meeting the KS1758 food safety standard for its fruits, vegetables, and flowers through the PlantwisePlus program and in collaboration with the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya).

PlantwisePlus is a global programme, led by CABI, to increase incomes and grow safer and higher quality food through sustainable approaches to crop production.

120 trainers, who represent various Kenyan exporters of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, received a six-day training on topics such post-harvest handling, labor safety, pesticide use, plant nutrition, traceability, and record keeping.

The Kenya Standard 1758: 2016 (KS 1758) is a code of practice for Kenya’s horticulture industry, outlining the sanitary and safety criteria for the production, handling, and sale of flowers, ornamentals, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

It is broken up into two parts, the first of which deals with floriculture and the second with fruits and vegetables.

In order to ensure a supply of high-quality, healthy, and safe products for both the domestic and international markets, the stakeholders in Kenya’s horticulture industry designed a code of practice after realizing the importance of the sub-sector and the difficulties it faced.

KS 1758 is the result of this change. The standard is built around four main tenets namely food safety, good agricultural practice, worker welfare, and care for the environment.

Mr. Okisegere Ojepat, the CEO of FPC Kenya, took the attendees through food safety, quality, and hygiene to enable them comprehend the three concepts. He mentioned food-borne illness as a legitimate worldwide concern in his opening.

Aside from these issues,  he noted that agricultural practices are evolving, and human behavior is still a major component determining food safety systems.

Afterwards, he touched on prerequisite programs (PRPs), hygiene, the quality concept, traceability, and food contamination.

The KS 1758 standard covers every one of these elements, which is why there is a desire to fully implement the Standard.

“The KS1758 standard is addressing sustainable production, so meaning, if you are getting something out of the soil you also need to put something back into the soil. And that is in terms of using good agricultural practices,” said Lucy Karanja, CABI’s Content Manager, Nairobi, in an interview with KTN.

The trainees are expected to cascade this knowledge down to other members of their organizations so that everyone complies with the KS1758 standard, which the Kenyan government will make mandatory as of 1 November 2022.

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