The Kenya Horticultural Council has been officially launched to champion compliance of domestic and international quality standards and other market access requirements.
Also unveiled at the launch was KS 1758 part two, a standard practice code for exporters and handlers dealing in fruits and vegetables. This will be the basis on which export permits are issued.
The launch of KS 1758 part two will be the second standard code in the horticultural sector after the KS 1758 Flowers and Ornamentals standard code was launched in 2015.
The council will be responsible for enforcing compliance of the two horticulture standards aimed at eliminating possibility of any rogue practice and lack of proper documentation that has in the past led to expensive interceptions at the market entry in the EU.
KHC is also mandated to enhance industry growth and development by providing high level lobbying and advocacy services for the industry with the aim of facilitating and sustaining access to existing and emerging markets.
Kenya’s horticultural exports have been finding it hard to access the rich European market since the block capped maximum residue level to 0.02 parts per million in 2012.
The horticulture sector contributes substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product with approximately Sh102 billion annual turnover.
“The formation of the Kenya Horticultural Council could not have come at a better time. The horticultural industry is facing existential threat from numerous interceptions at the market place occasioned by myriad of factors such as maximum residue levels, documentation, tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers. The time has come to have a single strong platform that addresses common issues affecting the industry,” said Richard Fox, the acting Chairman of the Kenya Horticultural Council.
While handing over the Standard and its Quality Management System, Kenya Bureau of Standards managing director, Charles Ongwae (pictured) said the standards will provide a common reference point for assessment of the quality of goods and services and ensure products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. “For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity. They further help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade,’’ said Ongwae.