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Fresh producers seek review of policies to make horticultural sector competitive

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Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) has urged the government to provide conducive business environment to help make the horticultural competitive.

Speaking at the launch of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya 2019-2024 Strategic Plan at a Nairobi hotel, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Okisegere Ojepat said the sector has faced stringent and lengthy clearance processes, multiple taxations and levies, high energy costs, and trade restrictions, which has made Kenyan horticultural products less competitive in the regional and international markets.

“The sector has been adversely hit by the imposition of the 16% VAT on pest control products, among other unfavourable conditions, which has made our products more expensive even in the East African region,” Mr. Ojepat said.

“We are lamenting about cheap imports from the neighboring countries like Uganda but we are not asking ourselves how Ugandan able to produce these good cheaply,” he added.

He noted that it was impractical for the government to put any restrictions on trade with neighboring countries on the basis of imports being cheaper, adding that Kenya is a signatory to the World Trade Organisations treaties.

He said that in addition to the fiscal and trade policies, the six-year Strategic Plan would address several other issues affecting the horticultural sectors including product safety issues and coalition building to ensure that various organizations involved work towards a common goal.

The Consortium has also signed memorandum of understanding (MUO) with several organization including the Nairobi chapter of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and International Trade Cente through SheTrades to help the Consortium address the issues related to trade in horticultural products, both locally and internationally.

It has also signed a separate MOU with Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance (KAAA) to address the issues around food safety.

The Consortium has also appointed the Nairobi County Women Representative Esther Passaris as its Food Safety Ambassador.

“As a Consortium, we are keen to have matters that hinder trade in the horticultural sector addressed urgently. We are keen on ensuring there is market access to products and also that the final products traded locally and globally meet the safety standard. That’s why the MOUs we have signed with Chambers of Commerce, International Trade Centre and Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance and the appointment of Passaris as food safety ambassador is core to realisation of the objectives we’ve set out in our Strategic Plan,” Ojepat said.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) is the industry’s leading trade association committed to driving the growth and success of produce companies and their partners.

FPC Kenya represents the interests of member companies (including family-owned, private and publicly traded businesses as well as local, regional and international companies) throughout the fresh produce supply chain.

The association was founded in 2013 as then Kenya Association of Fruits and Vegetable Exporters (KEFE) to represent the produce industry, and recently took the name Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya in response to the need to address challenges faced by players in the domestic market space. FPC Kenya will continue the mission of promoting the growth and success of produce companies and their partners, with greater focus on the domestic market.

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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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