September Issue 4 2011

The role of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in establishment of sustainable flower farms

The third teleconference on the role of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in establishment of sustainable flower farms was held on 21st September 2011 at the Kenya Institute of Administration.  The World Bank jointly with Kenya Flower Council, the EU All ACP Agricultural Commodities Trust Fund Program (EU AAACP), and the African Caribbean Pacific organized a series of interactive Video Conference (VC) seminars that will elucidate challenges facing the Flower Industry in East African Region (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia).

The five VCs are addressing global competitiveness of the flower industry in the East African Region, the impact of agro-bacterium (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and other soil borne diseases on production of roses, the impact of climate change and multiple taxies and levies on the industry, and role of Strategic Environment Assessment in the establishment of sustainable flower farms.

SEA entails engendering environments issues at upstream end of development, that is, at the higher level of decision making when drafting policies, plans and programmes (PPs), as this will ensure sustainability. It also entails a review on benefits and detrimental impacts of existing policies, plans and programmes making of alterations where necessary.

In Kenya, the policies do not have provisions for SEA but only recognizes Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). NEMA has in the recent past begun the process of integrating SEA into environmental assessment process recognizing it as a tool that analytically and systematically integrates environmental issues into PPPs.

Uganda and Ethiopia has no provision for SEA unlike Tanzania

Limitation of SEA in Kenya

  • SEA guidelines are devoid of the punitive measures making the enforcement of the SEA a challenge
  • Limited number of SEA experts (30); a total of 12 SEA have been undertaken in Kenya since 2004
  • Centralization of SEA services
  • Lack of SEA course at local university
  • Wrong perception – additional cost
  • SEA  is longer (minimum of 6 month) compared EIA (45 – 90)
  • low level of awareness importance & process

Conclusion

The government ministries should be involved in SEA as it is a cross cutting issue. From the private sector side, the Kenya Flower Council will drive the process and in pursuing the matter. It may be interesting to drive deeper into what is in place in Ethiopia and Tanzania where several SEAs have been carried out. Other avenues that can be used include East African Community Ministry, National horticulture taskforce sector committees among others.

Flower Industry Workshop on Environment held in Naivasha

The Ministry of Environment in partnership with the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) organized a flower industry workshop for Naivasha region on 19th September, 2011 at the Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort to disseminate and equip the growers and relevant industry stakeholders on the government’s agenda for development for the industry, opportunities available through knowledge, skills development and technology as well as emphasis on the need for industry wide compliance to good practices.

The meeting echoed the cooperation between government and private sector to understand each other’s requirements and working together in fostering compliance addressing a business friendly environment that facilitates sustainability and growth as envisioned in Vision 2030 within the edicts of the new Constitutional.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Mr. Ali Mohamed, CBS, appreciated the efforts of the sub-sector acknowledging the existing collaboration between Kenya Bureau of standard and KFC to foster compliance. He recognized the key role being played by the industry in provision of employment, the country’s GDP, among others, appreciating the challenges the industry faces are diverse from uncoordinated government policies across the different Ministries, the sustainability challenges in the wake of climate change, the ever changing market requirements, e.t.c.

He added that the government has put in place environmental laws and regulations to ensure the natural resources are managed sustainably, to meet the current needs and those of the future generation. A new court on Environment and Land is now in place effective August 2011.  This is in pursuant of the Constitutional requirement for the establishment of a court to hear and settle disputes on environment and the use and occupation of, and title to, land, provided by Article 162(2) (b) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

He praised the collaborative efforts by the government and Naivasha investors and stakeholders in the rehabilitation on the water catchment areas serving the lake e.g. through Imarisha Naivasha initiative among others.

He raised his concern over the Naivasha Municipal sewage treatment plant that has not been functional for quite some time, leading to untreated sewage wastes being directed to the lake.

In addition, some of the NEMA Rules on wastes disposal are punitive and eroding the motivation  of pre-treating wastes due to the exorbitant costs associated on the licenses e.g. on composting, constructed wetlands, e.t.c.  These erode the competitiveness of the industry.

Government ministries have been given a directive to have one licensing office for all businesses by 2013, a move towards a focused institutional arrangement.

It was noted that there was a lot of duplication in term of requirements by Government agencies. For instance environmental requirements related establishment and management of a chemical stored by Pest Control Product Board (PCPB), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) among others.

The Ag. Director General of NEMA Dr. Ayub Macharia asked the industry to consider carbon foot print declaration as a whole, since individual declarations are too small and insignificant. He gave hioglights of the Kenyan Constitution and EMCA of 1999 citing the obligations of the government and also of the flower industry. He asked growers to use NEMA licensed waste collectors and incinerators, and to always follow-up on where their wastes end up.

The Chairman of Lake Naivasha Growers Group Mr. Richard Fox said Kenya in terms of the horticulture industry is a green economy. For sustainability’s sake, he urged all producers to adhere to a common standard that is mandatory for exporting; that meet both local and international requirements on social and environment, alongside other market requirements.

To ensure compliance he suggested that government regulators like KEPHIS, HCDA, and others have one authority regulating the industry.  He added that the government should consider using the EIA report as a pre requisite to acquiring other government licenses, permits (water, exports) among others.

Issues on Climate change, compliance, awareness and capacity building, laws and regulations

The workshop ended by proposing a common local standard for the horticultural sector (through government regulation) to be complied by all before export. On NEMA regulations, it was suggested that the authority should endeavor in providing guidelines on how to comply with given regulations, some of which call for new and costly technology.

The copies of presentation are available on request.

GlobalGap to be translated to Swahili

The Fresh produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) has been awarded some 729,000 US$ by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) to facilitate domestication of good agricultural practices by horticulture farmers in East Africa in the next 12 months. This will involve:

  1. Translation of GLOBALGAP (formerly EurepGAP) standard for fruits, vegetables and flowers from English to Swahili, one of the official languages in east Africa, for ease of readership by rural farmers.
  2. Simplification of the standard by producing brief, easy to read booklets on several aspects of the standard in English, Swahili and French – based on experiences gained under KenyaGAP, and other initiatives in the region.
  3. Training of trainers on the standard
  4. Training and information dissemination and certification of grower groups.

This project will be coordinated by FPEAK, but implemented in respective countries through established horticulture associations/organizations.  In this process the Kenya Flower Council will take the lead in activities targeting Global Gap Flowers and ornamentals.

Give your flowers a headstart with

Koppert Kenya a subsidiary of Koppert B.V Netherlands officially launched their new product Trianum in Naivasha Sports Club on 16th and 17th September 2011 during the just ended Naivasha Horticultural Fair. About 150 guests graced the event on both days of the launch.

Trianum is the trade name for koppert’s unique, patented hybrid strain of the beneficial fungus Trichoderma harzianum. It’s based on strain T-22 of  Trichoderma which is not only useful for the control of soil-borne pathogens such as Fusarium, pythium, Rhizoctonia and sclerotinia but also for promoting growth of plant roots and shoots as well. The product has been in use in Kenya since mid-2010.

According to Roger Boer, the product manager for TRIANUM in Koppert Netherlands the elaborate trial was carried out for a period of 6 months in four different geographic locations across the country i.e.  Isinya, Timau, Naivasha and Eldoret.  Among other things, increased production of cut-flowers and improved quality of the produce was reported.

Crops grown with trianum are observed to be more resistant to stress caused by diseases, sub-optimal feeding and watering regimes or climatic conditions. The plants have also improved intake of water and nutrients. It’s safe for people and the environment, suitable for use in organic systems. For best results it’s advisable to apply it early for example in propagation units, seedbeds etc.

Following application of Trianum in the root zone, trianum develops mycelia, which grow very aggressively along with the developing root system. It protects the plants in the following ways:

  1. Competition for space by giving forming physical barriers giving soil pathogens no room to establish on the root surface.
  2. Competition for nutrients; trianum and soil-borne pathogens both feed on nutrients within waste products exuded by plants roots during normal growth. Trianum uses these nutrients far more effectively, thus out competing soil pathogens at the root zone.
  3. Mycoparasitism: Trianum grows around pathogens and produces enzymes that break down their cell walls and deactivate the in the process.
  4. Strengthening the plant: promotes healthier root systems with more root hairs.
  5. Induce resistance: induce the plant defense system at the root and shoot level.
  6. Facilitating the absorption of fixed and non-fixed nutrients.

Trianum can be applied targeting the root zone through drip irrigation, overhead irrigation systems, motorized hose and reel cart sprayers, boom sprayers, knapsack sprayers etc. its compatible with virtually all insecticides and feeds, and with most fungicides.

A healthy plant starts with a healthy root system!

Freight Services

An American company can supply airfreight services from Nairobi to the Auction floor at a rate that is $0.20 less than the current applicable rate. If interested please get in touch With Eugene Reeksting (Former Vice Chair Lanawrua) eugenexmail@gmail.com.

ADEPTA to exhibit during the Nairobi International Trade Fair

The Association for the Development of International Trading in Agro-Food Products and Techniques (ADEPTA) [France] will be exhibiting in the Nairobi International Trade Fair from 26th September -2nd October.

The participants include companies that deal with irrigation, seeds, livestock breeders, livestock feeds, milk coolers and packaging. The French companies have procured a pavilion at the show where they will exhibit their products and hold B2B meetings with potential partners in the agriculture and livestock sector. They are also planning to hold a 2 hours seminar during the trade fair make presentation to potential business partners both from Kenya and other foreign participating countries.  The technical seminar will be organized on the Exhibition Center

on Thursday 29th at 10:00 am

Companies  investing  in and/or are interested in the areas mentioned are invited to visit their stand.

UN Chief Calls for Increased Efforts to Fight Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 8 September urged world leaders to redouble efforts in the fight against climate change, insisting that time was running out to prevent the worst consequences of global warming. Speaking at the end of his South Pacific tour, Ban stressed the need to conclude an ambitious global emissions-cutting deal at this year’s climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

The UN head was speaking at Sydney University following his visit of small Pacific nations, including some seriously threatened by rising sea levels. Countering sceptics of global warming, Ban said that climate change poses a real threat.

“The facts are clear. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise,” Ban said. “Millions of people are suffering today from climate impacts. Climate change is very real.”

The consequences of climate change are significant, he said. The current drought in the Horn of Africa is only one of many examples of the suffering caused by global warming.

Timely action is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change and to save millions of lives in the regions threatened most. Environmental migrants have already reshaped human geography. Continuing rises in sea levels and desert advances will reinforce this trend.

Ban’s call for increased efforts in the fight against climate change comes only a few months before leaders from 193 countries meet in Durban, South Africa, for this year’s UN climate summit.

Ban argued that at the November talks, leaders must conclude an ambitious agreement to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases driving climate change. This is necessary to prevent an increase in global average temperatures of 2 or more degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Scientists argue that such a rise in temperatures would have devastating consequences for agriculture, sea levels, water resources, and human wealth.

“Moreover, given that the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires next year, a political formula must be found to ensure that a robust, post 2012 climate regime is agreed upon, and is not delayed by negotiating gamesmanship,” Ban said.

But some observers say that political deadlock over the future of the Kyoto Protocol will prevent the conclusion of a meaningful agreement, a scenario similar to that seen at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark. China and the US refuse to support binding emission targets as part of a new commitment period, while Canada, Japan, and Russia have rejected the possibility of an extension of the Kyoto agreement.

Ban discarded criticism that few achievements have been made so far. He pointed to the 2010 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, where countries agreed on a Green Climate Fund to manage US$100 billion a year by 2020 in support of poor nations threatened most by climate change.

Ban also said that individual country actions are underway and claims that this can inspire global efforts. China pledged to reduce carbon intensity by up to 45 percent, and India is to increase clean energy investment by more than 350 percent in this decade.

Source: ICTSD

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