EAC EU EPA Progress to date

On expiry of the Post Lome Convention trade arrangement between the ACP Countries and the EU, the EAC and its EU partners signed an interim agreement, now referred to as the Framework Agreement (FEPA) in November 2007, to facilitate continuation of trade in goods and fisheries, in anticipation of a comprehensive Agreement. A commitment was taken by both parties to finalize negotiations on services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and other technical barriers to trade in order to conclude a full EPA.

In June 2010 a meeting between Ministers and the European Trade Commissioner in June 2010 agreed to conclude the full EPA by 30th November 2010. Unfortunately this did not materialize. The two parties however agreed on a road map over the next 12 months to ensure that this is achieved in 2011 during a meeting held on the 30th November. In the meantime the private sector intermediary organization from the EAC Countries met in Kampala between 1st and 2nd December in Kampala, with support from PROINVEST, to deliberate the private sector role in the EPA process.

Private sector role in EPA

Whereas every country can gain from trade, certainly not all individuals or groups within each country share such gains and as such those overall gains for a country matter little to those who lose jobs or go out of business due to the pressure of new competition emanating from trade. Naturally, freer trade favours a tiny wealthy minority of big businesses at the expense of small smallholder who as a result of new competitive pressure are bound to shrink and go out of business. The EAC-EU EPA however is an instrument of development and not a classic free trade agreement; in its design, there is a window of opportunity for smallholder business to first become established and that window of opportunity is accompanied by economic and trade development support.

For the rural poor, both market access and trade are essential to any meaningful and sustained process of poverty reduction. However, even under benign distribution conditions, trade reforms alone will not make a decisive difference to their income and market prospects. If EPA is going to meaningfully reduce poverty, there needs to be better linkages between small-scale poor producers and a variety of official and other local institutions, civil society and market actors, including medium- and larger-scale private-sector entities.

The task of reducing rural poverty and through greater and more profitable engagement of smallholders in trade involves the construction of a material, organizational and policy framework that directly addresses the specific issues and constraints faced by small-scale producers in their social and gender specificity. Therefore, it is imperative to combine successful trade negotiations with decisive measures to help poor rural producers to take advantage of, and benefit from, the opportunities created. Relations and institutions critical to smallholders have to be constructed in close collaboration among the rural poor, the private sector, government and donors to help the rural poor share in the benefits of the EPA.

Public-private engagement in EPA

Most efforts to address poverty and the constraints to sustainable private sector development originate in governments and public development institutions. However, for the opportunities that EPA presents to actually bear fruit that ultimately reduces poverty, it is imperative to find ways of effectively to engaging the private sector in addressing the development challenge. For this to happen, the critical role of effective dialogue between the private sector and the public sector is absolutely crucial.

Dialogue between private and public sector implies regular contact where they explore answers to some fundamental questions, including: how to reduce small farmers’ dependence on traditional exports to developed country markets; how to diversify into higher-value products; how to enter the value-added chain – everything from improving processing and quality control to addressing tariff escalation issues; how poor farmers and SMEs can forge mutually beneficial relations with the larger-scale private sector to exploit the opportunities that the EPA presents; and, how much to focus on developed country markets – as opposed, for example, to focusing on regional, national and local markets in the developing countries themselves.

The private sector must be enjoined in this debate and its intelligence and ingenuity must be brought to bear in the debate and even more importantly in the EPA implementation for the benefit of all EAC citizens.

Strengthening Public-Private Dialogue

The role of dialogue between the private sector and the public sector on matters of the EPA is extremely important. The EPA will easily benefit the private sector and lead to economic growth however; the EPA has a higher objective of development and poverty eradication which will require concerted efforts from both the private sector and the public sector. That concerted effort can only be facilitated through effective dialogue and such dialogue needs to be both formal and informal and the formal dialogue needs to be institutionalized.

The NDTPFs have been extremely successful in bringing together experts and various stakeholders from relevant government ministries, public institutions, the private sector, and civil society groups to formulate national positions during EPA negotiations. However, with the successful trade negotiations, the NDTPFs have served their purpose and now they are becoming obsolete. However, they do not have to become obsolete; they can be re-engineered to become fit purpose in implementing the EPA. They could be made the official platform for conducting public-private dialogue on matters concerning the EPA.

KFC Participates in the GLOBALGAP Certification Body Workshop Scheme Managers & In-House Trainer Trainings

The Kenya Flower Council auditor participated in the GlobalGap certification body (CB) scheme managers’ workshop and In-house Trainer Trainings at Cologne, Germany. The In-House Trainer training was conducted 22nd – 23rd November and CB scheme manager 24th – 25th November 2010.

The presentations were based on GlobalGap General Regulations and other normative documents for example Flowers and Ornamental, Fruits and Vegetables audit documents.  The trainings were in preparation for the release of the version 4 (v4) of the General Regulations and normative documents. The mandatory ‘interim documents’ will come into force 1st January 2011. The farms seeking certification onto GlobalGap standards in 2011 can be certified on v3.1. However starting 1st January 2012 all farms seeking certification on GlobalGap will have to be audited only on v4 of the General Regulations and normative documents.

The auditors will have to meet v4 training requirements before they will audit and issue certificates on v4. The criterion is at least one passes the online training course through a Certification body. This requirement will also be mandatory for the contracted auditors. GlobalGap may change the reporting methodology for its audit findings when growers are being audited. This will involve use of computerized reporting technology where the report can be generated instantly.

GlobalGap was very appreciative to its stakeholders for the support and contribution towards the realization of v4 documents.

Stakeholder’s workshop on knowledge management of the effects of pesticides to wild pollinators

Pest Control Product Board (PCPB) in collaboration with KARI, National Museum of Kenya and Global pollination Project (Kenya chapter held a stakeholder workshop on 25th November 2010 at Practical Training Centre, Thika to present the preliminary findings of the laboratory research experiments for the ongoing Lethal Dose 50% (LD50) ring test on honey bees and stingless bees concurrently being carried out in Kenya, Netherlands and Brazil. Kenya Flower Council attended the workshop.

They are carrying out a project on “knowledge Management of the effects of pesticides to wild pollinators” which is coordinated by Wageningen University in Netherlands and support by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and Food Quality.

The main objective of the workshop was to impart knowledge on the management of wild pollinators as they are key contributors to food security in the country.

This will ensure that the wild pollinators are safeguarded even as pesticides are applied to crops. Research has been undertaken showing that the wild pollinators that is, the bee, is going into extinction and measures need to be put in place to ensure that they are safeguarded.

Researchers from Wageningen University in Netherlands and other researchers from Kenya gave out their findings on the research experiments done on the wild pollinators especially the bee and indicated that the main cause of extinction is mainly due to continual use of non selective pesticides and climatic changes. In this regard, mitigation measures need to be put in place to ensure even as we use pesticides the risk involved in using them is reduced.

They also informed that a lot need to be researched on the wild pollinators since it seemed that very little is known about the wild pollinators especially by the growers and also provide a suitable data to be kept at the National Museums of Kenya.

Threats to Pollinators

  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Use of pesticides
  • Pollution e.g. water pollution in the ecosystem
  • Climate change.

Mitigation measures to reducing risks of toxic pesticides to pollinators.

  • Restriction of pesticide use only to greenhouses.
  • Ensuring all pesticide labels has information for the user on the potential hazards to the bees.
  • Encourage registration of biopesticides and encourage farmers to use them.
  • Timely application of pesticides to avoid application when the bees are actively foraging and or during the flowering seasons.
  • Creation of awareness to the farmers for example on the choice of pesticide formulation, knowledge on importance of pollinators, crop ecology, pests recognition etc.
  • Promote need base pesticide application through emphasizing on the use of Integrated pest Management systems.
  • Application of pesticides through drip irrigation to reduce uptake to the flower where the pollinators forage for nectar and pollen.
  • Use of safe formulations of pesticides which have reduced effect on the pollinators for example powder formulated pesticides are much safer than liquid based pesticides.
  • Encouraging non-cropped edges within the farm where they are not sprayed to encourage pollinators’ lives.

Challenges of pollinators in Kenya.

  • Lack of data on the number and variety of pollinators in the country
  • Most farmers lack knowledge on the pollinators
  • Pollination services is not viewed as an Agricultural input and it’s key to food security and sustainability
  • There are insufficient taxonomists in the country.

Way Forward

  • To create a national steering committee for the project. Committee members to come from the stakeholders.
  • Encourage more researchers to research on the wild pollinators.
  • Create awareness to the farmers on the importance of the wild pollinators and how to control their existence.

EPC launches their strategic Plan

Export Promotional Council (EPC) launched their strategic plan and strategy for Export Promotion of professional services in Kenya, the service Charter on 29th November 2010 at Hilton Hotel.

Speaking in the event, the Minister for Trade Hon. Chirau Ali Mwakwere said the plan will provide a firm foundation and reposition for the better service delivery and contribute to the attainment of the country’s Vision 2030 goal. According to Hon. Mwakwere the country expects that GDP growth will pick up to a growth of 10% despite the global financial crisis which affected growth of the economy and exports.

He added that in order to maintain high levels of growth there is need to discover new economic sectors with greatest potential for value addition. He said the Ministry is spearheading the process of implementing Private Sectors Development Strategy (PSDS) to provide a vehicle for harnessing public, private and donor resource for catalyzing growth and development of private sectors.
EPC celebrated winning of various awards including Prestigious Best Trade Promotion Organization from a developing country and ISO 9001:2008 Certification. EPC have also joined the World Tradepoint community under the name Tradepoint Nairobi and e-tool.  The e-tools help exporters to make their companies and products more visible in the international market.   While tradepoint is an international forum, is a national site exhibiting solely Kenyan exporters.
Kenya Flower council participated in the event. Also present was the Chairman of EPC Njeru Ndwiga, EPC Chief Executive Officer Matanda Wabuyele and JICA representative Mr. Shigeo Nakagawa among other dignitaries.

Agrochemical Association OF Kenya hold an annual dinner

The Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK) held an end of year dinner for all its affiliated members and other stakeholders on 26th November 2010 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nairobi. Kenya Flower Council attended the dinner.

The Minister for Agriculture Hon. Sally Kosgey, the chief Guest, was represented by Dr. Wilson Songa, the Agriculture Secretary.

It was agreed that there is need to prepare a policy on use of agrochemicals for Kenya to guide the industry and also develop a curriculum on safe use of pesticide training for use and teaching at the local universities. The ministry promised to take this agenda to the relevant government department. It was also noted that the training on safe use of pesticides should also include efficiency of application.

The ministry requested the AAK to help in ensuring that the prices of agrochemicals, is within reach of all farmers including small holder farms. It was noted that provision of cheaper fertiliser and seeds had increased productivity of food and similarly, the agrochemicals availability would promote productivity.

PanAAC hold an innovation Fair a UniBrain Programme

Pan African Agribusiness and Agro industry (PanAAC), held an innovation Fair of Universities, Business and Research in Agribusiness at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi on the 26th and 27th of November,2010. The theme of this conference was “Fostering Innovation through Strategic Partnerships”.

PanAAC is a private sector driven platform that seeks to bring together agribusiness and agro-industry Value chains and support services to enable them easily access information, knowledge, strategic partnerships and financial remediation. PanAAC’s constituents comprise of input suppliers, producer organizations, processors and packagers, logistic providers, wholesalers, retailers, financiers, exporters, and business development providers.

According to Pan AAC Executive Director in Kenya Mrs. Lucy Muchoki they work together with Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FAO), NEPAD, ECOWAS, COMESA among others. Mrs. Muchoki said they have 2 million Dollars which will be invested in different projects.  PanAAC will be launched in February 2011 in Dakar, Senegal.

The Fair was one of the activities in the ongoing Universities, Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UniBRAIN) programme.

This initiative is being implemented in Nine Danida Priority Countries in Africa on behalf of African Commission. It is in response to the recommendations by the African Union to strengthen linkages between Universities, Research and Business. This will help in ensuring that the institutions of Higher learning churn out graduates that are marketable and can be gainfully employed in the private sector or start their own viable businesses that are profitable and run professionally.

Some innovative ideas from the Universities and research institutions in the East African region were selected and displayed at the fair for the private sector to witness the potential of the youth and explore the possibilities of up scaling the most viable ones through partnerships. This was an ideal platform to tap the unexploited innovations which can be transformed to successful business entities for eventual commercialization. Some of those who showcased their products are University of Nairobi, JKUAT, Kenyatta University, Egerton University, Mbarara University FIT, Makerere University, Amiran Kenya, Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI).

Esther Kapsoot of Egerton University show cased his fresh cut rose harvesting basket (Frecurhab) which she says will reduce the damages and provide a cost effective method of harvesting and sizing of cut roses stems in the greenhouse. She said the basket will help improve the quality of marketable rose stems within the post harvest value chain and improve labour efficiency. With her innovation Esther won an award during the fair for the marketability of her idea.

Participants of the event came from different countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Uganda. Dr. Manu Chandaria , chairman COMCRAFT group  said entrepreneurs are engines and backbone of tomorrow urging all the sectors to create case studies to be able to know the challenges and how to attend to them.

Amon Anderson of Acumen Fund asked the participants to invest in business with social and financial impact. Acumen invests in businesses that serve the poor and are interested in investing in drip irrigation in an improving smallholder sector here in Kenya. They invest in old companies (7 years and above) but not to incubators or young businesses.

Other who made their presentation included Dr, Assetou Yaye Executive Director of African network in for Agriculture, Agro forestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), Equity Bank, UAP Insurance among others. Kenya Flower Council attended the fair.

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