CABI has shared its expertise on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures in the production and launch of Good Agricultural Practice Guides for avocado, beans and peas in pods in Kenya.
Dr MaryLucy Oronje, Scientist SPS and team lead for the development of materials which were showcased by the National Horticulture Task-Force (NHT) and produced to address challenges relating to the commercial quality and the regulatory requirements for avocado.
The NHT is a multi-stakeholder forum with representation of about 20 organizations from both public and private sector in the horticulture sub sector that promotes private-public sector dialogue.
Compliance with market requirements
The forum also has the goal to ensure Kenya’s horticultural produce complies with market requirements and sustains its reputation as a leading grower and exporter of horticultural produce.
The industry employs around 6.5 million people and in 2022, Kenya earned Sh146 billion from horticulture exports, with flowers contributing Sh103 billion, vegetables Sh23 billion and fruits Sh20 billion.
The two guides were produced together with partners including the NExt Kenya Programme, European Union, Kenya Flower Council and the Committee Linking Entrepreneurship Agriculture Development (COLEAD).
They outline the procedures to be adopted by value chain actors in the avocado, beans and peas in pods sector – ensuring compliance with both market and SPS requirements at the regional, national and international level.
NHT Chairman, Clement Tulezi, reported by the Kenya News Agency, said that the Good Agricultural Practice Guides have come at a critical moment in the horticultural sector of Kenya which is currently facing major bottlenecks that need to be addressed to enable it to competitively thrive in the marketplace.
“The Good Agricultural Practice Guides have been developed by the stakeholders to address the challenges relating to the commercial quality and the regulatory requirements for beans, peas and avocado,” he said.
Meeting challenges of SPS
These challenges, he added, include compliance with SPS requirements such as the presence of harmful organisms and maximum residue limits for pesticides, use of quality and true to type planting materials and adoption of good hygiene practices.
Mr Tulezi added, “Some farmers have been harvesting immature avocados which has led to flagging of the avocado exports to the niche markets. The good practice guides contain strategies on addressing these challenges.”
At the launch, Harsama Kello, the Principal Secretary, State Department for Crop Development, said horticulture is the fastest growing sub-sector in agriculture and has been on a steady rise in terms of production volumes and revenue for the last 10 years.
He added that the private sector plays a very big role in the industry of exporting avocado, beans and peas in pods and other horticulture products with more than 150,000 small scale farmers participating in value chains for the export market.
He said the Ministry will continue creating an enabling environment for the sub sector to thrive and ensure that the country realizes the desired agriculture transformation.
Dr Oronje said, “Pests and diseases directly impact the fresh fruits and vegetables sector and are known to migrate and move across borders, adversely affecting crop production.
“Ensuring that countries have good SPS measures in place means that a critical element of the food value chain can be strengthened not only to mitigate crop pests and diseases early on but also, crucially, at the point of export and import.
“The Good Agricultural Practice Guides for avocado, beans and peas in pods are valuable assets for Kenya’s agricultural sector to have to help increase the productivity of its smallholder farmers but also their livelihoods and regional, national and international food security.”
Main image: Dr MaryLucy Oronje from CABI, fourth right, at the launch of the Good Agricultural Practice Guides for avocado, beans and peas in pods.
Citizen TV Kenya News Report
See the news report on the launch of the Good Agricultural Practice Guides from Citizen TV Kenya.