New Kenya horticulture levy to fund fumigation facility

Funds from the recently established 0.25 percent horticulture export levy will be used to set up a fumigation and hot water plants for processing of mangoes as the country prepares to resume shipments to the US, Europe and other key markets.

Kenya has not been exporting to these key destinations in the last seven years due to presence of fruit flies that forced a number of countries raise the red flag.

Exporters estimate they stand to lose Sh377 million annually following the implementation of the levy that took effect on January 1.

The Directorate of Horticulture said the funds will also be used for research to contain some of the pests that pose a threat to Kenya’s export market.

“These funds will play an important role on research in the horticulture sector and also help in putting up of a common user fumigation facility to be used by all stakeholders,” said Benjamin Tito, head of the directorate.

He pointed out that funding shortfall had limited Kenya’s response to the quarantine pests leading to stricter requirements by the export markets.

For instance, Australia last year directed Kenyan exporters to fumigate flowers before shipping, a move that has so far cut on volumes shipped to that country.

Besides mangoes, other export crops affected by exotic pests include chillies and French beans.

Pests have also seen avocado exporters forced to adhere to stringent rules in order to access to the lucrative Chinese market.

Source: Business Daily