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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

EU policy on Kenyan exports creating a local health crisis

As the European market continues to dictate strict standards for any product entering its territory, many exporters have been caught out. However, rejected products are finding their way onto local markets. EurActiv Germany reports. Kenya, one of the largest exporters of fresh produce to the EU, has been hit hard by officials wedding out produce that the European market has deemed high in residual levels of pesticides and heavy metals unfit for human consumption and environment. Exports to the EU include flowers, vegetables, fruits, peas and fish. The EU has placed Kenya on the radar as one of the countries with 10% increased Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs), which are the set legal levels of concentration of pesticide residues in or on food. This classification is for ensuring minimum possible deposits for consumer exposure and consumption. Already about 11 Kenyan exporting companies have been temporarily banned for failing to meet this threshold. But about 15,000 Kenyan farmers that sell their wares on the international markets, and who make up 10% of all horticultural growers in the country, have increasingly become responsive to the demands of the European market, implementing practices like judicious application of pesticides, integrated pest management that embraces biological pest control and harvesting at the right time. Increased farmer training and ad hoc on-site visits by institutions like the government-owned Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, KEPHIS, have equally been pivotal in taming bans.

Source: Euractiv