The seed business in Kenya Treceived a major boost after two regulatory agencies received a Sh 130 million grant to digitise inspection and issuance of licences.  The non-governmental trade lobby Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) said the two institutions – Agriculture anc Food Authority (AFA) and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) -will provide a seamless regulation service to seed propagators, importers and traders, thereby ensuring only genuine seeds reach farmers for higher productivity.

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Operations within the two agencies will be automated, giving dealers and seed producers a one­stop online platform that is aimed at. enhancing service delivery via increased efficiency in the administration of agricultural trade documents.  TMEA Trade Environment Senior Director Richard Kamanjugo said the project is also part of efforts to increase trade volumes within East Africa by 10 per cent.

Eradicate loopholes

He said that TMEA would provide technical assistance that will see Kephis and AFA digitise their manual platforms, thereby eradicating loopholes blamed for delays on seed product analysis and release of results. While the new e-portals will reduce waiting time by up to 85 per cent, costs are also expected to drop by 25 per cent. TMEA gave Kephis Sh45 million, which will see it digitise issuance of seed certificates to traders, resulting in enhanced access to trade and market information while AFA will spend, the Sh 85 million grant to create a ce11tralised database, enabling its numerous directorates to fast-track issuance of licences to private players in the agricultural sector.

Fastracking clearance

AFNs Director General Alfred Busolo (left) hailed the project saying it will help ease operations within the agricultural sector among investors. He said a similar move within the tea sector has since helped farmers realise higher returns.

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Subsectors that will benefit include coffee, fibre crops, nuts, pyrethrum, horticultural crops, sugar, oil and food crops. Mr Busolo and Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani also signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two institutions link their portals, thereby fastracking the clearance process.

Source: Monday November 14, 2016 / Daily Nation Newspaper /Business

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