Kenya for a long time now has been a source of premium agricultural commodities for the global markets. This has created employment opportunities for our people as well as earning the country foreign exchange.
However, the issues of the quality of agricultural commodities has contributed to rejection of some of the produce at the global market place. There is therefore need to move the stakeholders in this sector to produce commodities that comply with the global safety standards.
In this regard Rootooba in partnership with Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) hosted a three-day Global GAP TourStop 2023 themed: “Strengthening compliance and expanding markets for Kenya’s agricultural produce.”
There is a need for concerted efforts
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Speaking at the event, Dr. Kristian Moeller, President of Global GAP, noted that it’s now an opportune time to scale up the Holistic approach to farm assurance that comprises voluntary standards, certification and benchmarking.
Farming is a noble profession
“Farming is a noble profession and there is a need to educate farmers on food safety, environmental sustainability and workers’ well-being in livestock and aquaculture, flowers and ornamentals, as well as fruits and vegetable farming” added Dr. Moeller.
He further noted that this is an era of collaboration of like-minded people in public-private partnerships for a common good.
Moreover, Dr. Moeller added that there is a need to cog in traceability systems. This will go a long way in creating consumer confidence and a step closer for Africa to feeding the world.
Farmers have to be assisted to earn more
On his side, Michael Michener, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, said that farmers have to be assisted to earn more from their farming ventures.
He also noted that, during the African Leaders Summit last December, the US President Joe Biden committed 55 billion dollars to advance shared African and US priorities in the framework of African Union Agenda 2063. This agenda seeks to increase intra-African trade especially in agriculture value added products three-fold in 2023 and this can be made possible by meeting food safety standards.
Embracing food safety will open new markets
According to Harry Kimutai, the Principal Secretary in the Department of Livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, embracing global food safety standards is the key that will open new markets for the Kenyan produce in addition to the already existing European market.
“There are opportunities for our produce in North America, Asia and Middle East. To tap into these markets, we must incorporate technology in agriculture such as smart irrigation and proper pest control strategies which will boost the quality and quantity of the surplus food for export,” added PS Kimutai.
[The writer is a Veterinary Surgeon and is the Resident Vet at FarmKenya