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Relief for farmers as EU lifts tough rules on beans export

By Nicholas Waitathu | April 23rd 2015

Kenya: Beans exported from the country to the European Union (EU) market will not be subjected to 10 per cent checks at the point of entry.

This is after a European Union member states' meeting in Brussels early this week gave exported beans with pods a clean of bill of health after being satisfied with the progress the Government and farmers have made in efforts to tame produce with Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

The news is a relief to thousands of farmers who have been facing challenges in exporting to the EU market as their produce would sometimes be rejected at the points of entry.

Kenya Planters Health Services Inspectorate (Kephis) Acting Managing Director Esther Kimani confirmed yesterday that runner beans and French beans will no longer be subject to mandatory testing at the European points of entry.

"The effect is that the produce will get to the European consumers fresh and fast and reduce the cost of laboratory testing, which was borne by Kenyan exporters," said Dr Kimani.

She added that the clearance follows intensive efforts by Kenyan farmers for the last 11 months. Notifications due to harmful organisms reduced drastically in the first quarter.

Product quality

"This has led to reduced interceptions, more awareness of market requirements, stepped-up interest in business processes, and improved export product quality,"she added.

During the meeting, EU member countries acknowledged the positive measures Kenya has put in place to ensure beans exported do not exceed the recommended pesticide residue levels. The steps included encouragement of farmers to observe post-harvest handling and use of recommended and approved pesticides.

Kenya was put on the watch-list in mid last year after cases of high MRLs exports were detected at various entry points to the EU market. The standoff was, however, resolved after the Government took measures to address the crisis, including sacking senior managers.

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