Crackdown on fresh produce exporters
Kenya faces the critical task of bolstering its safeguards to ensure safety and quality of its fresh produce exports, thereby avoiding potential rejection and the need for costly repeated testing at foreign entry points.
Given the country’s heavy reliance on food exports, it’s crucial that stringent export standards do not necessitate retesting of Kenyan produce in foreign laboratories, which would drive up costs.
To implement this strategy effectively, Kenya must first crackdown on traders involved in exporting substandard produce and those who use pesticides that can harm the environment and contaminate water sources for other businesses.
Fortunately, due to government collaboration with export destinations, Kenya has made significant strides in reducing cases of pesticide residue exceeding maximum levels over the past decade.
Kenya’s status as the leading exporter of fresh produce to the European Union, controlling 40 per cent of cut flower exports, underscores the importance of maintaining high-quality standards.
The government has demonstrated its commitment by heavily investing in key regulatory agencies and establishing essential structures to ensure the durability of its produce.
To reinforce food safety standards, the government is intensifying regular training for farmers. The Centre of Phytosanitary Excellence plays a crucial role in this effort, training plant health and agricultural practitioners in good agricultural practices, implementing sanitary and phytosanitary international provisions, and modern diagnostic methods.
Additionally, the presence of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) certified laboratory in Kephis Nakuru benefits Kenya and the entire region, supplying certified seeds for various crops and contributing to agricultural sustainability.
However, it’s imperative for Kenya to ensure at highly hazardous substances, banned worldwide, are not used within the country despite the state’s guarantee of meeting phytosanitary and safety measures.
By fortifying its defences against substandard produce and hazardous substances, Kenya will maintain its position as a leading exporter and safeguard Kenyans’ health while contributing to global food safety standards.