A multimillion endeavour by the EU to boost Kenya’s horticulture sector is a grand investment of Ksh650 million
Firstly, under the NExT (New Export Trade) project, the European Union (EU) will invest €5 million in Kenya’s horticultural sector. And, this influx will occur over four years with the intention of increasing household incomes through employment opportunities and foreign currency.
In addition, Katrin Hagemann, the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya spoke during a NExT event in Nairobi enthusiastically. She said they were committed to helping Kenya comply with horticultural exports to sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
“This €5 million programme aims to secure lasting improvement for all stakeholders to adapt to evolving sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS). From commercial, social and environmental requirements on local, regional and international markets,” she said.
“Kenya’s horticultural export trade continues to focus on Europe is made up of 27 member states. This block has a population of 506 million, the largest trading bloc in the world. And it is looking to develop new destinations in Africa and beyond.”
Also, the investment will improve food security, and safety and nutrition. This is a result of increased resilience, inclusiveness, and sustainability of Kenyan horticultural value chains. EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture will benefit numerous parties.
NExT Kenya Program with EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture
The NExT Kenya programme was conceptualised by COLEACP (an association of companies and experts committed to sustainable agriculture). Moreover, they were in consultation with stakeholders in the context of the European Green Deal.
The deal is a set of policy initiatives that seek to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. It calls for compliance with SPS and food safety standards for countries exporting fresh produce to the EU.
Prof Hamadi Boga, the Principal Secretary for Crops Development and Agricultural Research, shared with the public confidently. He said that such investments would ensure the competitiveness of Kenyan horticultural products globally.
NExT Kenya targets the whole value chain with a specific focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Furthermore, the private and public services that support the sector. Additionally, the EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture opens a whole new market for existing entities.
Dr Chagema Kedera, the program coordinator said one of the key aims of the NExT programme would be to reinforce capacity. And shared this would occur by involving both private and public players.
“A key aim of the programme is to reinforce the capacity of agribusinesses and business member organisations (BMOs). By focusing on good agricultural practices, compliance with standards and market access, market intelligence, financial access, and business skills.”
Additionally, it should help improve the capacity of the public sector, especially the authorities, to strengthen competitiveness.
COLEACP role alongside EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture
COLEACP brings together public and private sectors, supports sustainable and inclusive agricultural development in various ways. Through technical cooperation and capacity-building programmes in 50 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries they build a great scheme. International donors like the EU will be major donors in this endeavour.
The NExT Kenya programme seeks to build on COLEACP’s long-standing activities through its two ‘Fit For’ Market programmes. Further, these two paired with the EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture creates a game-changing scenario.
Recent activities include business skills training, technical training for companies in a few areas. Namely, integrated pest management, development of good practice guides for avocado and peas/beans, and coaching Kenyan flower companies. This is all occurring in collaboration with the Kenya Flower Council and other national producer’s/exporter associations. The aim is to help reduce interceptions of false codling moth on roses exported to Europe.
Those targeted for support are horticulture producing and exporting companies, especially those dealing with fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, service providers, producer and support organisations, professional associations, e vocational centres or universities, as well as government regulatory agencies.
In summary, Apollo Owuor, chairman of Fresh Produce Exports Association of Kenya (FPEAK) said that the NExT Kenya project would greatly help the industry. Furthermore, he believes it will help them stay ahead of the game in domestic, regional and international supply chains. Additionally, when the industry is coming out of Covid-19 pandemic-related effects. EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture comes at an ideal time with the entire nation battling the deadly disease.
Predictions of life after EU’s boost to Kenya’s horticulture
“The NExT Kenya programme will strengthen the re-establishment of the National Horticulture Task force as a public–private platform. It will help to drive innovation, communication, and competitiveness of the industry”, he added.
Also, Kenya is sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest supplier of fresh vegetables to the EU market after South Africa.
Nevertheless, according to FPEAK, 10 years ago, the EU accounted for more than 80 percent market of Kenya’s horticulture produce. Unfortunately, this dropped to 50 percent by volume and 70 percent by value due to the opening of new markets.
The project will enhance capacities of agribusiness in the Kenyan horticulture sector to enable them to complete in all markets. Further, this will be done through training and support on agricultural good practice. For instance, helping exporters access markets, providing market intelligence to exporters, and access to finance and business skills.
Finally, strengthening competitiveness will improve the capacity of the Kenyan horticultural sector. This will majorly target government regulatory departments. For example; Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD), and the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (Kalro).
Further details on the investment; http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-04/30/c_139915701.htm