The overall objective of COLEACP’s NExT Kenya programme is to increase the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income.
The New Export Trade (NExT Kenya) programme is working on the development of a Good Practices Guides (GPG) for avocados, beans and peas to ensure these products meet international standards.
The programme, officially known as “NExT Kenya – Enhancing Kenyan Horticultural Export”, is funded by the European Union through COLEACP. Its overall objective is to increase the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income through the generation of employment opportunities and foreign currency and to improve food security, food safety and nutrition by strengthening Kenyan horticultural value chains. The specific objective of this four-year programme (2020-2024) is to secure a lasting improvement in the capacity of all stakeholders to adapt to evolving sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), commercial, social, and environmental requirements for local, regional, and international markets.
The development of the Guide was launched in Nairobi on 25 May by the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives, Prof Hamadi Boga. The function was attended by the Competent Authorities, Business Membership Organisations and horticulture produce exporters.
According to COLEACP, a GPG will be used by the value chain actors to demonstrate and enhance the nation’s ability to comply with the SPS requirements of these products to external markets. This is because a GPG defines what the different actors working in the value chain must do to comply with SPS and commercial quality requirements for the product by collating and harmonizing the current specifications with international SPS standards, the commercial quality criteria adopted by the markets, the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Phytosanitary Practices (GPP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach.
The HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
At the event, Prof Boga said the launch of the GPG process signals that solutions to food safety issues in the country were in sight. A draft food safety policy was in the offing, he said, and added that it will be subjected to public participation. In addition, a Food and Drugs Authority Bill is currently in Parliament, even though it is a Private Members Bill.
Other speakers included the CEO of the Fresh Produce Exporters of Kenya (FPEAK), Hosea Machuki, and his counterpart at the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya), Okisegere Ojepat.
The development of the GPG will involve a stakeholder (both public and private) consultative engagement process under the guidance of locally-trained experts. To guide the GPG development process, a steering committee and technical working groups were established at the event.
The steering committee will handle both the avocado, and beans and peas value chains. Apart from Machuki and Ojepat, other members of this committee included Horticultural Crops Directorate Managing Director Benjamin Tito, Dr Esther Kimani of the Pest Control Products Board, Dr Lusike Wasilwa of the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization, and Debora Shituvi of the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service. Others were Ernest Muthomi of the Avocado Society of Kenya, Amos Ndalutt of the Ministry of Agriculture, Richard Ndungu of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce, and Philip Mutooni of the Avocado Exporters Association.
Technical working groups were formed to handle the two value chains of avocados as well as beans and peas. They will be expected to come up with a draft GPG and present it to the steering committee for approval.
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