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Poor quality affects Kenya's agricultural exports

04 September 2014, 08:09

Nairobi - The UN on Wednesday said that expansion of Kenya's agricultural exports is being hampered by the production of low quality produce.

UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Acting Kenya Representative Kawira Bucyana said that Kenya is therefore unable to take advantage of new trade opportunities.

"Kenya requires substantial investment and technical assistance in order to expand production of export quality agricultural products," Bucyana said during the launch of the Standards and Market Access Programme (SMAP).

She said that compliance with standards has become necessary for the expansion of regional and international trade.

"However, standards and technical regulations drawn up by individual countries to protect health and the environment can act as trade barriers," she said.

UNIDO will organize trainings for the private sector in order to ensure their active participation in the standards setting process.

Read also: Exporters worried after JKIA fire

EU Delegation Head of Cooperation Eric Habers said that SMAP will facilitate Kenya's export trade which is largely unexploited. "The export basket is dominated by primary agro-based products," Habers said.

The EU market represents over 85 percent of Kenya horticulture exports. The SMAP will use half of its budget to purchase state of the art equipment for Kenya's standards and certification bodies.

"This will enable Kenya to test the presence of pests or pesticides levels in products intended for local and international markets," he said.

Habers noted that the high food safety standards that the EU imposes are often perceived as barriers to trade flows.

"These regulations are dictated by serious concerns for the health and safety of consumers and the environment," he said.

According to the EU, the SMAP will be considered successful if by the end of 2017, there is a wider range of high quality and safe food products available in Kenya.

 - Xinhua

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