Kenya lined up for slice of Sh3bn deal

Kenya will benefit from Sh3.2 billion (32.5 million euros) released by the European Commission to train African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) farmers on food safety as hygiene concerns take centre stage.

BY KABURU MUGAMBI

IN SUMMARY

  • Cash to boost safety levels in exported fruits and vegetables

Kenya will benefit from Sh3.2 billion (32.5 million euros) released by the European Commission to train African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) farmers on food safety as hygiene concerns take centre stage.

This is the second phase of Pest Initiative Programme (PIP), whose objective is to support exporters from ACP countries to comply with the European Union’s sanitary standards for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The initial phase supported 85 beneficiaries in Kenya including export companies, smallholder support organisations, service providers and public sector bodies.

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Mr Pietro Nardi from the European Commission delegation said in spite of the success of the first phase, challenges are still ahead.

He said the growing concern of European consumers towards environmental and ethical issues translates into constant upgrading of rules and regulations related to distribution of fresh products.

“Phase II of the PIP will, therefore, support ACP producers comply with this constantly changing environment,” said Mr Nardi during the launch of the programme’s second phase in Nairobi on Thursday.

The initiative will run for five years with the objective of reducing rural poverty through promotion of fruits and vegetables trade, he said.

It will focus on promoting healthy fresh products distribution in Europe and also in local markets, and to maintain zero residual pesticides.

Horticulture continues to grow steadily and remains the leading foreign exchange earner bringing into the country Sh71.6 billion last year.

Agriculture secretary Wilson Songa said the industry faces many challenges and constraints such as interception of products due to pests and pesticide residue.

“The new thematic areas for PIP Phase II will be a focus on new challenges facing the horticulture industry such as food safety, ethical trade, fair trade, and the environment,” said Mr Songa.

“I would request that the new phase include interventions aimed at supporting Kenya attend standards setting meetings,” he said.

Mr Nardi said there are new official regulations, but on top of this suppliers must meet ever increasing demands from their buyers.

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