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EU warns of tough measures on Kenya's fresh produce

13 February 2015, 08:41

Nairobi - The European Union (EU) has threatened to impose stricter inspection measures on fresh produce from Kenya over failed compliance to the bloc's standard, a Kenyan official said Thursday.

Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Karanja Kibicho said the country had received several warnings from the EU regarding failed standards.

"We have in the last couple of months received a number of notifications from the EU regarding failure of our produce mainly fresh fruits and vegetables to meet EU standards," he said during the opening of a flower growers workshop in Naivasha, Kenya's largest cut flower center.

Barely two months after the impasse of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiated between the EU and the Kenyan government, the EU has cited fruits and vegetables as some of the products that have failed to meet set standards.

Kibicho called for close collaboration for all people in the sectors to address the issue as soon as possible.

"The EU has even threatened to impose stricter inspection measures on some of our produce if the situation is not significantly improved," he said.

The EU last year enhanced its surveillance measures for fresh produce exports from East Africa after it was discovered that some of the products exported exceeded the maximum residue levels recommended by the bloc.

Some companies were temporarily banned from exporting fresh produce to the EU.

"It's regrettable that our exporters had to suffer huge losses when Kenya was briefly put under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences trade regime as a result of missing the time of signing the EPAs," he said.

He added that the delay of the EPAs was due to the complexities of the negotiations and that each party was targeting to have all its interests taken into account.

However, the official was however optimistic that the issue could be resolved, noting that the EPAs could be reached and would act as a mechanism for the two parties to have dialogues before action was taken.

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- Xinhua


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