Ksh490m EU-funded project helps ease access to markets

Tue, Jun 29, 2021

Agribusinesses set to benefit from greater business opportunities in both the East African and European markets

A joint initiative between the European Union and the East African Community is helping farmers, exporters and processors in selected value chains gain easier access to regional and international markets.

A total of €3,730,000 (Ksh490 million) has been committed by donors towards the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) in Kenya, in which members of both the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) and the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) are beneficiaries. The amount includes €3.6 million (Ksh473 million) from the European Union and €50,000 (Ksh6,570,000) from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as well as indirect costs.

“We have worked with SMEs and done baseline studies as well as market analysis. We are now going to the implementation stage,” said UNIDO official Christine Misiko.

Project implementation is being undertaken by both the International Trade Centre (ITC) and UNIDO. While the former is mainly concerned with avocadoes, tea and coffee, the latter’s focus is passion fruit, mangoes, French beans, snow peas, chillies, macadamia nuts, herbs and spices.

International standards

Using this model, MARKUP assists small and medium enterprises in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by targeting specific agricultural commodities. Interventions focus on the identification and elimination of barriers to trade; improving competitiveness; strengthening of value addition; ensuring compliance with international regulations and standards; providing access to trade finance; and supporting the identification of opportunities for trade and foreign direct investment.

The programme supports SMEs to meet international standards and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements. This allows agribusinesses to benefit from greater business opportunities in both the East African and European markets. There has been increasing demand in the European Union for East African produce.

In Kenya, the project is active in 12 counties, which include, Busia, Siaya, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, and Elgeyo Marakwet. Others are Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado, and Meru.

The MARKUP website (eacmarkup.org) lists the project partners as the Agriculture and Food Authority, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and private sector associations (FPEAK and FPC Kenya).

Other stakeholders include the Agriculture Financing Initiative (Agri-fi), ITC and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The MARKUP project was started in 2019 and is set to run until next year, with the possibility of an extension.

Photo Credit: © www.markupkenya.org

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