Kenya yet to tap South Korea fresh produce market – ministry

Farmers in the country urged to exploit existing opportunities .

In Summary

•In January 2016, South Korea indicated that unripe bananas and broccoli were exempted from Pest Risk Analysis.

•Kenya is free to export her products as long as they get a phytosanitary certificate issued by KEPHIS.

A farmer ferries bananas to a local market.
PLENTY: A farmer ferries bananas to a local market.

Kenya is yet to capitalise on export opportunities on unripe banana and broccoli in South Korea, the government has said, despite favourable terms.

In January 2016, the Kenyan Embassy in Seoul, South Korea indicated that unripe banana and broccoli were exempted from Pest Risk Analysis.

However, they require to be accompanied by a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate issued by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

The exemption gives Kenya easier market access to the East Asian country.

According to the trade ministry, the country is yet to reap much from the ready market, with the government calling on farmers, youth and women to increase volumes of the two key products for export.

This, as KEPHIS continues to engage South Korea on the export of more products such as avocados, passion fruits, baby carrots, baby corn, snow peas and pineapples.

Apart from market access for unripe banana and broccoli, Kenya exports cut flowers such as roses, gypsophilla, freesia, calla lillies, limonium, solidago, carnations, zantedechia, hydrangea, lavender and craspedia, in addition to coffee, dried chillies and tea.

KEPHIS managing director Theophilus Mutui said exporters interested in the sale of unripe bananas to South Korean will however need to register with the Horticulture Crops Directorate.

They then submit statutory documents in order to make electronic applications for inspection and issuance of phytosanitary certificates.

Phytosanitary certificates are issued upon inspection and confirming that the bananas are free from pests and pest damage and meet quality requirements.

“Exporters should also ensure the bananas are unripe, free from damage, and practically free of any visible foreign matter,” said Mutui.

In May 2015 Kenya initiated bilateral talks with a view of increasing market access in South Korea for various products, which led to the exemption on Pest Risk Analysis.

According to Mutui, gaining access to a new market for a plant commod­ity can involve a relatively straightforward process, while in other circumstances the process can be protracted.

The initiation of the process, whereby a country considers a request for market access, usually takes the form of a written submission from the relevant government authority of the exporting country, to the counterpart agency of the importing country.