Kenya’s Agricultural CS calls for enhanced crop pest management strategies

KENYA – Kenya’s Agricultural Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, has called for greater efforts in mitigating effects of pests and diseases in crops, an issue he considers the main challenge in the agribusiness sector. In a speech read on his behalf by Douglas Kangi, the Director of Crops Management at the Ministry during the official opening of the 3rd Phytosanitary conference in Nairobi, the CS highlighted that since studies have shown that agribusiness has the capacity to transform livelihoods, particularly here in Kenya and Africa, increased capacity building to meet…

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KEBS approves 11 standards for meat products, develops rabbit feed standards

KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards has approved 11 standards that will safeguard consumers from fraudulent sellers of meat products. They prescribe the procedure to be used in the screening, testing and analysis of the samples obtained for authentication in cases of both fresh cuts and meat derived products. The bureau had kicked off the process of reviewing meat standards in mid-August where it sought views from potential users, in respect of relevance and effectiveness of the standards in addressing current market needs, regulatory needs and scientific and technological…

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Kenya, Pakistan scrap trade barriers, set to sign MoU on products standards

KENYA/PAKISTAN – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Pakistan Standard Quality and Control Authority (PSQCA) are set to soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on matters of standards for products. This comes after the two countries, Kenya and Pakistan, announced the removal of the ‘Attestation Fee’ that was previously being charged by the Pakistan High Commission in Nairobi, culminating a long-standing tariff war that hurt trade between the two countries. Pakistan slapped the fee on Kenyan tea when it initiated taxation of Pakistan rice at 75 per cent…

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KEBS to receive increased government funding to support SMEs

KENYA – The Kenyan government has pledged to increase funding to its chief regulatory body, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), to support Kenyan businesses as they expand into regional markets. The pledge comes against the background of increased exports by Kenyan firms to regional markets and an agreement that allows countries in East Africa to share quality standards. This means goods certified in Kenya will not need to be retested after export into the region and vice versa. In a press conference held at Alba hotel, the Industrialization Permanent…

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Experts urge Kenya to consider new approach in regulating gene-edited crops

KENYA – The director of the East Africa Hub of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has warned that subjecting Kenya’s gene-edited crops to the same regulations as those developed through genetic modification could needlessly slow their release to farmers and consumers. Gene editing is a group of technologies that gives scientists the ability to make permanent and heritable changes at specific sites in the genome of an organism.  Genome editing can be used to add, remove or alter DNA in the genome. It is cheaper, simpler and more…

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Kenyan retailers move to comply with flour brands withdrawal orders

KENYA – Supermarkets have moved to comply with an order by the standards regulator, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), to withdraw 27 maize and porridge flour brands over quality concerns. The Retail Traders Association of Kenya (Retrak) said supermarkets had removed from their shelves the products in line with the KEBS order. When asked whether members of the association had complied with the order, the Retrak CEO, Wambui Mbarire informed Business Daily that they had done so. Retrak is the voice of the retail industry with the main objective being…

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AU on its way to establishing guidelines on GMO use

AFRICA – The African Union (AU) is developing guidelines for the use of genetically modified (GM) crops across the continent, amid censure from campaigners that some policies favor giant businesses and lack adequate public input. Despite a concerted push by donor-funded schemes to expand the use of such crops in Africa, they have not been widely adopted by the millions of small-scale farmers that make up the backbone of the agricultural sector. The AU, in a draft report on its proposed guidelines, highlighted that only seven countries – South Africa,…

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Kenya, Tanzania settle on deadline for trade barriers removal

KENYA/TANZANIA – Kenya and Tanzania have set December as the target time when the two neighboring countries will have resolved most of the non-tariff barriers affecting cross-border trade. The decision came out of a meeting of the Joint Commission on Cooperation (JCC), a bilateral organ comprising officials from the two countries created to resolve issues affecting areas of cooperation. The meeting is co-chaired by Foreign Affairs ministers Raychelle Omamo of Kenya and Tanzania’s Liberata Mulamula, while the trade committee is led by Trade ministers Betty Maina of Kenya and Tanzania’s…

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Kenyan feed manufacturers seek lifting of ban on GM foods importation

KENYA – Livestock producers and animal feed manufacturers have requested the Kenyan Government to permit the importation of duty-free genetically modified (GM) yellow maize and soybeans to cushion against a national shortage of key ingredients used in manufacturing animal meals. The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA), the country’s umbrella body for livestock feed producers, has urged the Government to review and vacate its Cabinet memo of 2012 which banned the importation of GM foods into the country. The association said the ban, has led to the shortage of feed…

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KEBS probes Spanish olive oil safety following withdrawal from foreign markets

KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is looking into the safety of a popular brand of Spanish olive oil after the product was withdrawn from supermarket shelves in some markets, including the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), for allegedly containing cancer-causing chemicals. Olive oil has become popular in diets in the world propped by its numerous health benefits, including cutting the risk of heart attacks. It is an oil high in an ingredient known as monounsaturates (MUFA) required to regulate cholesterol levels, and vitamin E, which helps to stave…

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