The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) expects Kenya’s horticulture export volume to rise following the automation of phytosanitary certification.

KEPHIS Managing Director Prof. Theophilus Muthui has said ePhyto platform which has been developed in collaboration with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA) will help reduce cases of absent documentation, wrong information, incomplete documentation and forgeries that have dogged Kenya’s export process leading to losses for producers and revenue for the government.

“Previously we have had challenges where there is fraud. People have defaced the phytosanitary certificates and have led to our produce being intercepted at the destination market. This is the reason why we came up with this innovation to be able to address that challenge,” said Prof. Muthui.

According to KEPHIS, on average at least 54 consignment of horticulture exports are intercepted annually due to issues related to documentation.

The ePhyto platform is expected to also reduce the time it takes for the document to be transmitted from Kenya to the Netherlands and other markets and reduce the cost incurred by the exporters with physical documentation.

KEPHIS backs the system to also improve phytosanitary certification compliance by at least 99pc.

“We have seen over the years that electronic certification is almost the only way to go because if you have ambitions of becoming an even more important exporter of agriculture products in the world, then you need an instrument that will facilitate that ambition and I think going paperless make this ambition to be realized,” said said Patricia de Vries, Chief Phytosanitary Officer.

Last year horticulture exports rose to 682,279.4 tonnes from 592,068.2 tonnes recorded in 2020. 

Of the total value of exports amounting to Ksh 191.5 billion registered last year, exports to the Netherlands accounted for Ksh 61.7 billion which is an increase from Ksh 48.3 billion registered in 2020.

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