Export requirements for horticultural produce

As more farmers delve into modern farming, their produce is attracting huge demand locally and internationally. But to exporters, especially horticultural, knowing the right documentation to allow the produce to at the exit point and also be accepted in the importing country is a tall order.

Data from a World Bank report indicate that over 30 percent of individual exporters struggle with the right documentation. We highlight the export requirements for fruits and vegetables in Kenya.

For starters there are five documents exporters of any produce must to have. These include an Export License from the Horticultural Crops Development Authority HCDA. The document is issued after the exporter presents to the Authority documents like certificate of business registration, KRA Pin, name of the bank, photocopy of the identity card, documentary evidence from the overseas clients, for example a letter, fax or e-mail that the exporter is ready to start an export business, produce packing facilities inspection report, farm inspection report, buyer – produce contracts  as witnessed by HCDA, company stamp and authorized signatory of applicant, typed application form and a registration fee of Sh5,000 yearly.


Another document is the Phytosanitary and conformity certificates from KEPHIS that is done to ensure that all exported plant and plant products are in conformity with the requirement of the importing country.
The Euro 1 Certificate issued for those exporting to EU Markets are certificates which demonstrate that goods are of preferential origin.

GlobalGAP certification, another key certificate is a document that shows that exporting farmer has engaged in Good Agricultural Practices that ensures that crops have been grown in safe, healthy and responsible way.
Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) compliance certificate for those exporting to EU markets ensures that farmers are abiding to the right pesticides and herbicides application when they are growing their produce.
For UK supermarkets, exporters require BRC certification which guarantees the standardisation of quality, safety and operational criteria and ensure that manufacturers fulfil their legal obligations and provide protection for the end consumer.

Private standards in EU, non-EU and other countries like USA, Japan, and Middle East keep on changing with time, and therefore, individual markets may have additional private standard requirements.

There are various specifications for individual produce to European markets.
For example for French beans the length should be a minimum 8 cm and maximum 10 cm with a diameter of between 4 mm and 6 mm. The colour should be mid to dark green  with a pest and disease tolerance of  0-5 percent rust and 0-5 percent anthracnose. However, most supermarkets demand totally blemish-free beans.

For mangoes, the packing should be in the range of eight to 16 pieces with a maximum of 4 kgs per box. They should also be free from latex contamination, no physical insect pest and disease infestation, free from bruises and other mechanical damages. The fruits should be shiny and freshly looking with 5 mm of stalk attached to control pathogen infestation through that point. The fruits are given sizes according to the number of the fruits per carton for example 8, 9 10, etc.  Grading can be done either manually or by use of machine.

Avocado should be packed in sizes of 10 to 18 pieces with a maximum of 4 kg per box. Fruits should be uniform in size, at most 5 mm stalk attached to the fruit, wax polish to prevent desiccation and dehydration. This can either be done manually or by machine. Grading can also be done the same way.

Passion fruits are packed in 48 pieces of 2 kg box. Fruits should be uniformly sized with no physical bruises on the skin of the fruits. There should be no disease or pest infestation on the fruits.
They should be uniformly yellow in colour, fine, crisp, free from dehydration with a high pitch when tapped. The length should be 450-75 mm and diameter of 200-350 mm.
Export package should contain shipper name and address, product and quantity, Class, Country of origin, Recyclable symbols and the green dot where they apply

The major cause of shipment interceptions in the EU include non compliance with regulations, presence of harmful organisms in consignment, pesticide residues above the acceptable limits in and/or on produce or inappropriate documentation.
Major threats to horticultural produce for exports include Bollworms, Leaf miner, White flies, fruit flies, thrips and Spider mites

For more information on products specifications in Kenya contact
1. Horticultural Crop Development Authority (HCDA)
Tel.: +254 20 827260
Fax: +254 20 3532898
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Website: www.hcda.or.ke

2. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya
Tel.: +254 20 4451488/440442
Fax: +254 20 445189
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Website: www.fpeak.org

3. Check with contracted export company (This is applicable to all exporting countries).

Certification bodies (fruits & vegetables) in East Africa
(The listed certification bodies may be accredited for GlobalGAP and/or organic production)
1. AfriCert Ltd.
Tel.: +254 20 8081330
Fax.: +254 20 828859
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Website: www.africert.co.ke

2. EnCert Ltd.
Tel.: +254 724 910 240
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3. Soil Association Certification Ltd.
Tel.: +44 117 314 5000
Fax: +44 117 314 5001
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4. Bureau Veritas Kenya Ltd.
Tel.: +254 20 4450560/61/62/63
Fax: +254 20 4450565
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Website: http://www.bvqi.com
5. SGS Kenya
Tel: +254 202733690
Fax: +254 202733664
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6. IMO Uganda Ltd.
Tel: +41 (0) 716260626
Fax: +49 (0) 32121229690
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Website: http://www.imo.ch

7. IMO Tanzania
Tel: +255 784618490
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8. TanCert
Tel: +255 222124441
Fax: +255 222124441
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9. Ecocert ? Bureau Madagascar/East Africa
Tel: +261 330201998
Fax: +261 202254864
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10. Naturland-Verband
Tel: +49 89898082-0
Fax: +49 89898082-90
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11. UgoCert
Tel: +256 41269416
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For more information on export regulations in Kenya contact
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)
Tel: +254 20 3536171/2
Fax: +254 20 3536175
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Website: http://www.kephis.org