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Kephis to train,link farmers to international markets

Experts from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) will train farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet County to capacitate them on the requirements needed to access international markets.

Kephis Managing Director Prof. Theophilus Mutui said his organisation will support farmers to export their mangoes and avocadoes, among other products, by ensuring that they are free from diseases.

“We will also issue them with the necessary certification so that their goods can access various markets across the world,” he said.

Speaking in Iten after meeting with county officials led by the Governor, Wisley Rotich, the MD said the organisation, in partnership with other agencies, has in the past three weeks managed to open an avocado market for India, where they are targeting a population of 500 million people.

He continued that these are people living in Indian cities who are potential buyers of Kenyan avocados, where three avocados are being sold for an equivalent of Sh2,000.

Prof. Mutui further said that the country has also been given access to the avocado market in China, which is the 2nd-most populous nation in the world, as well as in Mauritius, adding that they are working hard to open new markets in the USA, South Korea, and South Africa, among others.

“Therefore, with the partnership with the county, we expect that farmers from Elgeyo Marakwet will benefit from the international markets,” Mutui said.

Noting that fruit flies were a major challenge in the county, Kephis Chairman Joseph M’Uthari said the experts will work with farmers to eradicate them so that their products can be certified fit for export.

He added that they will also work with farmers in the county in the production of certified seeds, which will ensure that farmers not only increase their yields but also get quality products for export.

The chairman said this will also provide other income avenues for farmers, saying that besides selling to fellow farmers, they can also sell them to companies selling seeds.

He called on farmers to only buy seeds with the Kephis label and report any company selling them fake seeds so that action can be taken.

The governor said the partnership will help thousands of farmers, especially in the Kerio Valley, who produce fruits, by providing them access to international markets.

By Alice Wanjiru

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