The Kenya Flower Council held a media roundtable on Thursday, August, 28, 2014 at Heron Portico Hotel to clarify issues on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and also on interceptions. This was motivated by the fact that in the recent past, there has been a flurry of conflicting and alarmist media reports on the challenges facing access to the EU markets for the Kenya horticulture industry based on the Economic Partnership Agreements, interceptions emanating from maximum residue levels and harmful microorganisms in some products.
These reports have caused confusion and unnecessary anxiety in the industry at both local and international level creating the need hold an urgent discussion between the media, the industry and key players.
The forum provided a clear industry perspective on the issues to avoid misrepresentation of facts that seems to have gained currency with recent reports developing a common understanding at a time when the industry is going through a difficult period.
In regard to EPA, KFC Chairman Mr. Richard Fox informed the forum that other aspects of the Agreement have been agreed upon by both parties, except export taxes, domestic and export subsidies and governance. He said that if Kenya is to pay GSP rates to the EU, horticulture would be losing about one billion shillings monthly, considering that 87% of our total horticulture exports go to the EU. The taxes would be applied on C&F values, not FOB. The industry has intensified lobbying the Government to ensure non-disruption of business beyond September 31st 2014.
On the interceptions, Mr. Phillip Njoroge of KEPHIS said they are ensuring that the monitoring system is robust enough to provide enough confidence to the EU.
Between January and July 2014 52% of the interceptions were due to documentations and 48% are due to phytosanitary issues. KFC Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige added that if the interceptions due to documentation are done away with then Kenya would have a few inceptions to deal with. Interventions such as intensified refresher trainings on documentation havebeen put in place to deal with the matter.
KEPHIS has organized a series of meetings withproducers. The meeting for the Chief Executives will be held on Monday, September 1, 2014 at KEPHIS headquarters starting at 9.00 am to 11.00 am to address the issue.