Horticulture farmers in Kenya want Europe to cancel its rule that 10 percent of horticulture products for export should be tested. The rule has severely curtailed earnings, according to the stakeholders. They claim that it has reduced trade volumes with the European Union by 30 percent.
“Government agencies went to Brussels to explain that this rule was disproportionate to the kind of risks involved and although the meeting went well, they told us that the EU-members had voted for it”, says James Onsando, managing director of Kephis, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services.
The reason for putting Kenya on the ’10 percent testing list’ is that Europe revised the residue levels for some pesticides, which are hard to meet for Kenyan farmers, according to Onsando.
“This is not based on science, showing that there is a health risk, but we lack data to show the correct Maximum Residue Levels (MRL).”
Kephis says only two notifications in 2011 of higher levels of dimethoate and one in 2012 involving disinfectant in snowpeas was reported. Onsando: “Therefore 10 percent controls is not justified.”