Kenyan flower exports face Aussie headwinds

23-08-2019    02:30   |    Gerald Andae/Business Daily

Australia will not postpone requirements for Kenya to have met guidelines on its horticultural exports as Nairobi stares at a possible loss of the multibillion market.

Kenya had been given a deadline of September this year to comply with the zero pest tolerance directive on all the flowers that are exported to Australia, failure to which they will be banned from accessing the market.

The country has just two weeks to comply with the directive set to hit the Sh2.6 billion annual sales but stakeholders in the industry are afraid Kenya will not beat the deadline.

“We have had several discussions with the Australian officials but they have maintained their stance that the deadline will not be moved,” said Okesegere Ojepat, chief executive at Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.

The move implies that effective September 1, Kenya’s flower export to Australia will halt.

The new directive was to be effective on July 1 but Kenya asked for an extension to address the matter accordingly.

Under the new regulations, Kenya’s exporters would be required to fumigate their produce at least 18 hours before it is exported, which is not the case at the moment. Currently Australia does the disinfection at their port of entry before it gets to the market.

Stakeholders are concerned that Kenya might not have the capacity to put up a full-fledged fumigation infrastructure in place as there is none available at the moment.

“For us to put up a fumigation plant, we need at least Sh500 million to meet the cost of this facility,” he said.

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Photo credit: Crossed Flag Pins

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