Kenya aims to expand its multi-billion horticulture export market during the upcoming international plant health conference set for Nairobi next month, the first of its kind in Africa.

Kephis managing director Esther Kimani

The phytosanitary conference will discuss plant health and issues including pests and exports control measures that are key to Kenya’s horticultural market.

The country aims to seize the opportunity to showcase procedures that it has put in place to comply with international standards.

The conference will be hosted by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), which is the body mandated with checking quality of the produce and compliance standards.

Kephis managing director Esther Kimani says Kenya will use the conference to further its agenda in the export market that last year saw the country earn up to Sh100 billion in foreign exchange.

“Being the first conference on plant health to be held in Africa, we see it as an opportunity to grow our export market even further,” said Dr Kimani.

Agriculture principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe noted that pests reduce crop production by 33 per cent resulting in loss of income and poverty.

“An example of how pests can cause countries to lose market is when South Africa banned all imports of susceptible crops from Mozambique due to the fruit fly until appropriate measures were undertaken. This resulted in export commodities being lost,” said Dr Lesiyampe.

During the conference, delegates will propose ways of mitigating against diseases such as Tuta Absoluta, which affects tomatoes as well as the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease that is threatening regional food security.

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CREDIT: Daily Nation

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