The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) wants Parliament to fast-track ratification of an agreement that governs agricultural trade across the regional trade bloc.
East African Community partner states set June 30, 2016 as the deadline for ratification of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol.
The measures seek to protect human and animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or disease-causing organisms in their food.
The measures, which also take into account plant life, seek to mitigate damage to a country from the entry, establishment or spread of pests, diseases or disease causing elements.
Kephis head of trade and standards Phillip Njoroge told Parliament last week that approval of the protocol is vital since it will influence how business is done across the region.
“Ratification of the protocol is a matter of urgency for Kenya since the June 30, 2016 deadline agreed upon by EAC partner states is just a few days away,” he said.
IMPLEMENTATION OF HARMONISED RULES
Mr Njoroge, who was accompanied by other officials from Kephis, appeared before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee to highlight the need to have the protocol approved in good time.
Once Parliament ratifies, the next stage will be to forward the protocol’s instruments of operation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will then take it up with the EAC secretariat.
What follows will be implementation of the harmonised rules and procedures on safe handling and production of food, plant and animal products.
Rwanda and Uganda have already deposited their instruments of ratification on SPS measures with the EAC secretariat, while Tanzania and Burundi are in their final stages.