By Vallary Wachira.
European Union has launched a Ksh.400m program aimed at empowering institutions and horticultural producers to access EU and regional markets. The program comes as Godsend at a time when Kenyan exporters are struggling with stringent Technical barriers and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Protocols.Under an initiative dubbed Market Access Upgrade program (MARKUP) that was launched in Nairobi, Agribusiness and horticultural exports across 12 counties will be able to access the European Markets.
The initiative is a national project that aims at promoting regional integration and will work closely with the implementing partner, United Nations Industrial Development (UNIDO), International Trade Centre (ITC) and GIZ.In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of International Trade Mr. Peter Njoroge, CABINET Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Hon Peter Munya observed that on a number of occasions, Kenya’s food and agricultural exports to European Union have experienced barriers due to stringent Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary requirements.
“Despite many opportunities for regional and international trade, Kenya’s agricultural products have not fully exploited high value markets in the region and overseas due to challenges of conformity with the international standards and other market requirements”, noted the Cabinet Secretary.He urged the private sector to utilize the MARK-UP opportunity to upgrade their capacities and ensure they supply agro-foods products.“I want to call upon private sector to utilize this opportunity to upgrade their production capacities and ensure they supply agro-foods in accordance with requisite standards for public health protection and market access,” he said.
The CS urged Government institutions such as Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) AND Kenya Plant Health inspectorate services (KEPHIS) to work closely with UNIDO in implementing the project. EU is a major trading partners of Kenya, after East Africa Community and common market for Eastern and Southern Africa regions. Exports to EU are mainly agricultural products: tea, coffee, horticultural products cut flowers and fish”, said Cabinet Secretary
MARKUP Kenya is part of the regional EAC-EU MARKUP initiative that is aimed at addressing both supply side and market access constraints supporting participation in regional and global value chains with a particular focus on exports to the European Union.