Nairobi; Kenya: The Government is appealing to the European Union (EU) for more time to implement changes in the horticulture industry with a view to dealing with unscrupulous traders exporting contaminated produce.
The State says the time extension would also enable it assess the impact of the new measures.
Under the Horticulture Competent Authority Structure (HCAS),
Kenyan State agencies responsible for enhancing compliance of produce to EU confirmed that they have intensified surveillance on all produce being shipped to the EU market.
This they say is meant to curb shipment of contaminated produce to avoid having the country blacklisted.
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) said the measures already employed will show sustainable improvement in addressing the issue of non-compliance of the Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs).
KEPHIS acting managing Director Esther Kimani confirmed in a phone interview that the Government has instituted tough measures to assist in cracking down on corrupt traders who have been shipping contaminated produce to the EU market.
The EU had threatened to ban fresh produce from Kenya if exporters continued shipping commodities that have failed to meet agreed standards.
“We appeal to the European Union to give us more time to implement the changes and observe the impact of the measures that have been made before considering more stricter and stringent controls,” explained Dr Kimani.
He said the Government has made changes in the management of key government institutions dealing with regulation of horticultural exports.
“In the last five weeks, we have not received any interception of sub-standard produce. This is an improvement,” she added.
In 2012, the EU made changes in its legislation allowing more inspections, at a frequency of 10 per cent to verify compliance.
Kimani, however, reckons that it is only three per cent of the exports that do not meet the required standards.
The measures Government has taken include suspending firms believed to be violating the maximum residual rule, purchase of equipment to enhance pesticide laboratory analysis and hiring of more inspectors to increase the contact time for each consignment.
Source: Standard Digital
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