By George Munene
The National Horticulture Task Force on Wednesday (3rd March 2023) launched the Good Agriculture Practice for Avocado, Peas, and Beans in pods guide meant to ensure these products meet international standards averting farmer losses.
The guide will help maintain high standards of production to ensure these horticulture products meet internationally set standards allowing Kenya competitively do business in both the global and domestic markets.
“The Good Agricultural Practice Guide has been developed by stakeholders to address the challenges relating to the commercial quality and the regulatory requirements for beans, peas, and avocados.
These challenges include compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary requirements such as the presence of harmful organisms and maximum residue limits for pesticides, use of quality and true to type planting materials and adoption of good hygiene practices,” said Task Force chairman, Clement Tulezi,
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Tulezi also noted that some farmers harvest immature avocados which has led to the flagging of exported avocados while emerging diseases lead to the unripening/hardening of fully matured fruits. The good practice guide he noted contained strategies on addressing these challenges.
The handbook is part of The New Export Trade (NExT Kenya) programme officially known as “NExT Kenya – Enhancing Kenyan Horticultural Export”.
It is funded by the European Union through COLEACP. Its overall objective is to increase the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income through the generation of employment opportunities and foreign currency and to improve food security, food safety, and nutrition by strengthening Kenyan horticultural value chains.
The four-year programme (2020-2024) aims to secure a lasting improvement in the capacity of all stakeholders to adapt to evolving sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), commercial, social, and environmental requirements for local, regional, and international markets.
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“The sub-sector has registered tremendous growth driven by increased demand for high quality and safe produce and products for local and export markets. Despite employing 6.5 million people, Kenyan horticulture needs to make great strides to remain competitive in the international market,“ highlighted Crop Development PS Harsama Kello.
COLEAD director general Jeremy Knops urged attendants to disseminate the guide to professionals within the avocado, beans, and peas agriculture sub-sectors.
The Good Practice Guide’s development involved both public and private stakeholders under the guidance of locally-trained experts and will be reviewed regularly to ensure farmers are up to date with what the market demands.