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International exporter contracting farmers to grow herbs

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A fresh produce exporter, AdaFresh, is recruiting farmers to grow herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, chives, tarragon, thyme, oregano, sage, dill, rosemary and sorrel.

“We are looking for 2.5m kilos of such herbs annually, but currently we are facing a shortage of two million kilos, with contracted farmers supplying 0.5m kilos,” said Dionysious Wahome, Kenya Produce Manager, Adafresh.

The company is looking for the produce for export to Israel, an international market that needs five million kilos of the herbs but produces just half of the target.

“A farmer intending to supply with these herbs must have a minimum of 15 acres of land for cultivation, enough for future expansion or be able to supply at least two to three tonnes per week,” said Wahome.

Farmers supplying the produce between 1st and 15th of every month will receive their payment on the 30th of that month while those delivering their herbs between 16th and 30th of every month will be paid on the 15th day of the following month.

Each produce has its own price, basil farmers will receive four Euros per kilo, chives 5.25 euros, Rosemary 3.5 Euros, mint 3.5 Euros, coriander three Euros, tarragon 4.9 Euros, oregano 3.8 Euros, sage 3.8 Euros, dill 3.3 Euros and Sorrel four Euros.  

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Coriander leaves

The farmer also has to be certified by GlobalGap, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and obtain an export license from the Horticultural Crops Directorate Authority (HCDA).

GlobalGap stands for good agricultural practice and is responsible for marketing of safe products.

KEPHIS issues prospective farmers cum exporters with a phytosanitary and conformity certificate after complying with the maximum pesticide residue levels of below 10 per cent on each crop.

In 2017 for instance, Kenya’s fresh produce to the EU was intercepted 29 times due to high pesticide level with 17 of these interceptions involving capsicum caused by the False Codling Moth (FCM).

Kenya’s horticulture earnings increased by 33 per cent from Sh78.2bn to Sh104bn during the first eight months of 2018 compared to a similar period last year.

The earnings have been buoyed by the rise in export of flowers from Sh55.6bn as from January to August 2017 to Sh76.9bn as from January to August 2018 according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

In this, vegetable earnings increased by 9.6 per cent to Sh16.9bn from 50,000 tonnes of produce sold while fruit exports on the other hand fetched Sh8.7bn from 57,000 tonnes exported.

Wahome can be reached on +254 727 908 779.

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