NEW AGENCY TO DRIVE HORTICULTURE’S COMPLIANCE WITH EXPORT STANDARDS
The Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC) has been launched to support the industry’s growth by championing compliance with domestic and international quality standards and other market access requirements. Specifically, KHC will be responsible for enforcing compliance with horticulture standards for flowers and ornamentals (as outlined in KS1758 Part 1 guidelines) and fruits and vegetables (in KS1758 Part 2) which was also launched. The launch of KHC has been pioneered by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) and the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK).
In a statement read on his behalf during the launch of KHC, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett said: “The significance of the horticulture industry in Kenya cannot be overemphasized. It contributes substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with approximately KES 102 billion (USD 1 billion) annual turnover. It employs over 4.5 million Kenyans majority of whom are small scale farmers thus enormously supporting the Country to achieve its aspirations of Vision 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Agenda among others”.
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.
“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 (MRLs), 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 Ms Jane Ngige, CEO of the Kenya Horticultural Council.
While handing over the Standard and its Quality Management System, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director, Mr. Charles Ongwae said, “Standards provide a common reference point for the assessment of the quality of goods and services and ensure products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.”
Ongwae added, “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.”