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Govt says taking action to curb residue chemicals in EU exports

21 August 2014, 15:35

Nairobi -  Kenya is banning the use of some chemicals on farms and stepping up inspections to avoid increased sanctions on its fresh produce exports to the European Union, Agriculture CS Felix Koskei has said.

The EU set a deadline of September. 30 for Kenya to cut the residue chemicals in exports, to comply with the EU's guidelines, or risk sanctions on exports of its cut flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Kenya earned 83.4 billion shillings ($943.97 million) from horticulture exports last year, the ministry of planning said. The EU bloc is its main export market.

The sanctions will include closer inspection of Kenyan exports by the EU and may ultimately lead to a ban.

Koskei told Reuters Kenya was complying with the EU's demands for a reduction of pesticide residue in fresh produce.

"We have done what they wanted us to do," Koskei told Reuters late on Wednesday, adding officials were in talks with the EU.

"We have given them the action programme as requested and we are actually fixing the problem," he said.

Measures taken include the banning of the use of two chemicals, which Koskei did not name, on farms, as well as increasing staff who ensure exporters complied with the rules, both on farms and at the point of exit at airports and seaports.

Last week, Koskei asked the heads of two government agencies tasked with ensuring the quality of farm produce to go on leave, to allow investigations to be carried out on why Kenya had not met the EU's rules.

Those agencies were the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA).

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- Reuters


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