UNIDO to implement EU-funded Programme to boost Kenya’s agricultural exports
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was selected to implement a EU-funded project ‘Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP)’, which will boost Kenya’s agricultural exports regionally and internationally.
“MARKUP aims at enhancing market access and competitiveness of Kenya’s animal and plant-based products through the adoption of relevant international standards and improved food-safety regulation and enforcement”, said State Department of Trade Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo. “Kenya will receive technical assistance to ensure that its agricultural produce meets the food safety and agricultural health standards of the European Union and East African Community (EAC) markets”.
Currently, the share of several Kenyan agricultural products is shrinking owing to poor quality and safety standards; specific concerns include high levels of pesticide residues beyond legal limits, poor hygiene and harmful organisms. The project will thus train small scale farmers from twelve Kenyan counties along selected value chains, including green beans, snow peas, chillies, mango, passion fruits, ground nuts, herbs and spices.
“The project is also geared towards supporting the horticulture sector to ensure that products meet market requirements”, said EU Delegation Head of Cooperation Dr. Hubert Perr. “The European Union has a very sizeable market, which offers competitive prices for quality produce”.
Indeed, the project will also strengthen national institutions such as the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to ensure that all the agricultural exports meet the market requirements for both export and domestic markets, and are safe for public consumption.
As part of the EUR 3.7 million project, which is anchored within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, UNIDO will also work with the private sector including the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya and the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.