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Calls for mark of origin to be included in the Horticultural exports

The horticulture directorate is seeking to include mark  of origin on Kenyan horticultural exports in a branding venture.

Assistant director of regulation and compliance at the Horticultural directorate Wilfred Yako said that Kenyan Avocado, flowers and mango exported to the middle east are repackaged and resold in the European markets at a premium with Kenyan farmers missing out on additional income.

Speaking in Aronda farm in Makueni county , Yako explained that  part of the Dutch horticultural exports originate from this country before being repacked and sold at a premium as Europen products

“ We are in the process  of introducing a stamp of origin in the horticulture 2020 bill before it is passed into law and this will ensure all products from Kenyan quality goods can be identified with the country in a branding exercise.

The introduction of the stamp  of origin will also  protect farmers from exploitation and ensure they maximize their income from their produce

However, Yako noted that  this will need  a multisector approach to curb re-exporting of Kenya’s fruit to other countries, a move that gives credit to exporting nations given that Kenya’s produce are some of the best in the world.

“ We have also approached Kenya’s agricultural attaches in the countries that are affected by this vice in order to correct the issue saying that through re-exporting to other countries, the element of originality is lost with the fruits assumed to be from the last country that exported them.

The issue has also affected avocados and other horticultural produce such as flours, which are also exported to other destinations.

Kenya’s horticultural produce has been facing challenges in exports because of the phytosanitary requirements that has seen some of the countries, especially in Europe, impose stricter rules to control export of these quarantine pests.

The ban on mango exports was effected following high levels of fruit flies that saw Kenyan consignments intercepted on several occasions, hence the per-emptive freeze before a ban and directorate has been working round the clock to ensure the issues of pests are contained.

Avocado  export to South Africa , and whose ban was lifted  in 2017  Yako noted has also seen exports from Kenya to South Africa still  low due to harsh restrictions that were  imposed by the south African nation .

Kenya’s authorities are working to curb the re-exporting of mangoes to European countries through the Middle-Eastern routes even after the country imposed a self-ban on exports to EU.

Kenya stopped export of mangoes to European nations in 2014 to avoid sanctions from the EU that would have been occasioned by high presence of fruit flies in the produce.

However, the mangoes are still finding their way to Europe through third party countries such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Middle-East countries that are at the moment exporting high quantities of the produce from Kenya.

Technical Manager of KEITS Exporters  of mangoes in the country , Japheth Mbandi said exporting to middle east and  then the Kenyan products moved in the other countries is a common occurrence,

“From Dubai , products move from any parts of the globe. It does not mean that our quality is bad but Its because we have the presence of the pest in the country.  The regulation in the EU is that mangoes must be sourced from a pest free area thus we have to manage the pests from here and assure the EU that our mangoes are safe from quarantine pests”, he said

Pius Kyongo , a medium scale  farmer  from ‘Aronda farm  in kako waiya ward , in Mbooni  and who has over 1700 mango trees said  through KEITs company , they were able to export their mangoes in the EU market before the imposition of ban.

by Wangari Ndirangu

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