KENYA – The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has unveiled a five-year plan, earmarking Sh9.7 billion (U.S$ 63.4 million) to bolster plant health, ensure seed quality, and facilitate safe trade for the nation.

Prof. Theophilus Mutui, the Managing Director of KEPHIS, disclosed that the financial plan would be sustained through a strategic combination of internally generated funds and support from the National government.

Addressing stakeholders during the unveiling of the KEPHIS strategic plan (2023-2027), he emphasized the organization’s commitment to utilizing modern technology.

KEPHIS has seamlessly integrated with the e-Citizen platform, generating over Sh240 million (U.S$ 1.5 million) since August 2023 through their Integrated Export Import Certification System (iEICS).

The move signifies a crucial step towards streamlining services, including the issuance of permits, inspections, and certification processes.

The state corporation, with its diversified revenue streams, aims to focus on critical areas such as plant health, seed quality assurance, plant variety protection, trade facilitation, quality agro-inputs, and produce.

Prof. Mutui highlighted their outreach efforts, including plant clinics where farmers can seek advice on managing crop diseases.

Collaborative initiatives with counties, exemplified in Elgeyo Marakwet and Makueni, showcase KEPHIS’s commitment to empowering farmers to produce high-quality, export-worthy agricultural products.

Furthermore, KEPHIS envisions expanding its global footprint through enhanced collaboration with local and international partners.

The MD revealed that the organization has successfully opened up new markets for Kenyan agricultural produce, including avocados reaching the European Union, China, India, and Malaysia. Future endeavors include venturing into markets in South Korea and the USA.

Joseph M’eruaki, the KEPHIS Board Chairperson, asserted that the proposed strategic plan aligns with Kenya’s economic blueprints, emphasizing food and nutrition security.

Recognizing the devolved nature of agriculture functions, KEPHIS plans to establish county offices to bring services closer to agro-dealers and seed sellers, aiming to combat the issue of fake seeds.

In June last year, KEPHIS received equipment worth Ksh1.3 million (U.S$ 8,499) for seed inspection to enable real-time inspection of various crops such as maize, beans, wheat, sorghum, cowpeas, green grams, potato, and rice.

Gatsby Africa donated the 30 tablets to facilitate the implementation of the automated seed certification and plant variety protection system, aimed at providing digitalized services to the farming community.

Gatsby Africa is an ambitious and dynamic organization, committed to sector transformation and helping change lives for the better in East Africa.

M’eruaki stressed the vital role of the agriculture sector in Kenya’s economic growth, contributing significantly to industrial raw materials, export earnings, total exports, and employment.

The Board Chairperson expressed KEPHIS’s dedication to collaborating with County governments to build capacity at the local level, ensuring compliance with standards and fostering agricultural productivity.

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