National Produce Traceability System

Following the increased interceptions at the European market for non-complying horticulture produce (flowers and vegetables), and locally heightened rejections by KEPHIS, there is no better time to come up with a National Produce Traceability System than this.  It is on this note that Horticultural |Crop Directorate (HCD) through funding by USAID-KAVES, and in partnership with key industry stakeholders including KFC, FPEAK, KEPHIS, PCPB, Kenya Vegetables and Fruits Exporters Association, KARLO, and others, have started the Traceability Initiative to ensure the horticulture industry reinforces its competitiveness.

The proposed technology based National Produce Traceability System is meant to provide a reference framework for linking data relating to fresh produce from production to distribution.  It will answer the questions of What? Who? When? and How?

On implementation of the system, the Country can showcase the same as a valuable tool that is to facilitate market access, and convince the various market destinations of a robust traceability system that is able to identify deficiencies along the value chain and put in place effective mediation measures.

The second meeting towards this initiative was held on February 10, 2015 at the Serena Hotel, to build census on issues regarding the scope of the proposed traceability system, pilot production areas, pilot companies, industry nominees to the project steering committee, and industry nominees to the project technical committee.  Vegetables shall be a key player in the pilot phase of the project, together with the sensitive cut-flowers including eryngium, hypericum, gypsophyla, and solidago.  Pilot companies shall be drawn from big, medium and small scale growers for ownership.

In recognition that companies already have some traceability measure in place, the project shall be looking on how such will feed into the national traceability system for visibility.

The national produce traceability system will be developed based on the following key criteria:

a)       Common identification of farms, packing premises and stakeholders using a combination of Geo referencing, GS1 and HCD stakeholder codes.

b)       Common identification of products (crates/boxes and pallets) using a combination of a national a traceability code, exporter internal codes and GS1 codes.

c)       Ability to electronically track produce movement downstream (market side).

d)       Ability to electronically trace produce origin upstream (supply side).

e)       Ability to electronically share critical information amongst stakeholders.

f)        the system must be credible, simple, efficient, economical and transferable to other flowers, fruit and vegetable productions, while at the same time, being adaptable to other initiatives by the sector namely KEPHIS ECS and seed traceability system, PCPB, KFC Certification, KENYAGAP (FPEAK), HCD ERP,  and Exporter internal traceability systems.  It will integrate the needs of all the links of the horticultural supply chain.

g)       The labeling and packaging standards defined and adopted must be compatible to export market stipulations and carry the necessary traceability information for downstream traceability.


Some of the risks that the horticulture industry has had to deal with due to lack of a reliable traceability system include:

  1. Increase in Physical checks at EU control points.
  2. Increased interceptions.
  3. Negative Market Perception on capacity to manage risks.
  4. Traceability rules not fully implemented.
  5. Reduction in Export volumes/sales.
  6. Produce lack Origin & history information.
  7. Future participation of Smallholder farmers in the export market is at risk.
  8. Rapid growth of the industry has led to reduced controls.


These industry challenges therefore require urgent action to protect Kenya’s Market Share and credibility as the major exporter of fresh produce

Some of the benefits of an integrated traceability system include:

  1. To trace produce to its farm of origin based on records, about its geo-location, planting inputs and movement history.
  2. Improve regulator inspection, risk profiling and investigation capacity.
  3. Enhance speed and efficiency.
  4. Improve industry competiveness.
  5. Enhance information sharing and facilitate rapid recall.
  6. Collaboration and Global Best Practices.
  7. Building Strong Partnership with Industry.
  8. Enhance market access for farmers and protect the brand reputation of Kenya and its exporters.
  9. Rapidly identify and isolate food safety incidents like Pesticide residues to minimise food safety risks.


KFC will keep you updated on this new development.

This entry was posted in February Issue 2 2015. Bookmark the permalink.