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Kenya’s trade in agricultural exports hampered by pesticide residue


Kenya’s trade in agricultural exports hampered by pesticide residue

Kenya’s trade in agricultural exports hampered by pesticide residue
Photo credit: United Nations

Kenya’s trade in agricultural exports is greatly hampered by perceived high pesticide residue in crops destined for key markets.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed says limited phytosanitary data has impelled export markets to set very low pesticide maximum residual limits in crops such as beans and peas thus denying developing countries revenue from exports.

Kenya is a largely agro based economy in which the sector contributes an upward of 27 percent to the gross domestic product.

For farmers, access to markets such as the European Union under the Economic Partnership Agreements, which is yet to be signed and ratified by the East African Community, have always been met by policies on high standards regarding phytosanitary, particularly on pesticide maximum residue limits.

The World Trade Organization Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary concurs this hinders exports from developing countries.

Mohamed says, “…Kenya’s exports of horticultural products have come under increased controls in our key export markets due to perceived risk from high pesticide residues. The maximum pesticide residual limits in our major export markets are usually set at very low levels, particularly for minor crops such as beans and peas with pods…”

Last year, horticulture exports increased 8.9% to stand at Ksh 110 billion.

Speaking in a Side Event on Trade in Food and Agricultural Products, Pesticide Maximum Residue Limits in Argentina, Mohamed said Kenya, Uganda and the US will now spearhead efforts in addressing challenges facing farmers in addressing trade relate MRL gaps.

She states “we are calling for voluntary actions by individual Members and institutions to increase the capacity and efficiency in setting international standards to address the need for more MRLs set on minor crops.”

She was speaking during the 11th WTO Ministerial conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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