The horticulture directorate is seeking to include mark of origin on Kenyan horticultural exports in a branding venture.
Assistant Director, regulation and compliance at the Horticultural directorate Wilfred Yako reported that Kenyan avocado, flowers and mangoes exported to the Middle East are repackaged and resold in European markets at a premium with Kenyan farmers missing out on additional income.
Speaking at Aronda farm in Makueni county, Yako explained that part of the Dutch horticultural exports originates from this country before being repacked and sold at a premium as European products.
“We are in the process of introducing a stamp of origin in the horticulture 2020 bill before it is passed into law and this will ensure all products from Kenya can be identified and associated with the country in a branding exercise.
The introduction of the stamp of origin will also protect farmers from exploitation and ensure they maximize income from their produce.
However, Yako noted that this will need a multisectoral approach in order to curb re-exporting of Kenya’s produce to other countries, a move that gives credit to exporting nations, given that Kenya’s produce are some of the best in the world.
“We have also approached Kenya’s agricultural attaches in the countries that are affected by this vice in order to correct the anomaly,” he said. Adding that through re-exporting to other countries, the element of originality is lost as the fruits are assumed to be from the last country that exported them”.
The problem has also affected avocados and other horticultural produce such as flowers, which are also exported to other destinations.
Kenya’s horticultural produce has been facing challenges in exports because of the phytosanitary requirements that has seen some of the countries, especially in Europe, impose more strict rules to control export of quarantine pests.
The directorate has been working round the clock to ensure the issues of pests are contained. Yako explained that the ban on mango exports was effected following high number of fruit flies that led to Kenyan consignments being intercepted on several occasions, hence the pre-emptive freeze before a ban.
He added that avocado export to South Africa, whose ban was lifted in 2017, has also seen exports from Kenya to South Africa still low due to harsh restrictions that were imposed by the South African nation.