- Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on Monday launched the horticultural quality mark that will be placed on all fresh produce in supermarkets before the end of the year.
- Munya pointed out that even though exports only represent four percent of total horticultural products in the country, the 96 percent consumed locally is not subject to security controls.
Consumers can now buy non-toxic vegetables and fruits at the supermarket, as the government enforces export standards to curb the high level of toxic substances blamed for the rise in cancer cases.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on Monday launched the horticultural quality mark that will be placed on all fresh produce in supermarkets before the end of the year, giving consumers the opportunity to select those that have complied with the controls. of quality, especially in the minimum levels of residues.
Munya pointed out that even though exports only represent four percent of total horticultural products in the country, the 96 percent consumed locally is not subject to security controls.
“Consumers have become more aware of possible food hazards and demand safe food. This has resulted in the establishment of safeguard measures in food … by national and regional regulatory agencies in the area of quality and safety ”, said Munya in a speech read on his behalf by the director general of the AFA, Kellow Harsama.
The Horticulture Directorate has partnered with the Kenyan Retail Traders Association (Retrak), the Kenya Fresh Produce Association and other stakeholders in the horticulture sector to enforce this regulation.
This follows the establishment of the Kenya Standards 1758 developed by horticultural stakeholders with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) as the secretariat, which requires that all vegetables and fruits be subject to the same quality standards as those of export.
Retrak CEO Wambui Mbarire said they are starting a pilot phase with supermarkets in Nairobi and other surrounding regions before it is finally rolled out across the country.
“Before the end of the year, these quality brands will be in supermarkets, we want them to be more consumer-oriented, choosing products that have been certified as safe on the shelf versus those that are not,” said Ms. Mbarire.
The head of the horticulture directorate, Benjamin Tito, said that they are starting with the formal markets first before moving on to the informal ones.
Tito said the agency will conduct random tests in all of the country’s major markets to verify compliance with required levels of chemicals and trace the product back to farmers in the event of non-compliance.
“What we will do with mama mboga is to track where they bought their merchandise, in case they have high levels of residues, it will guide us to advise the farmer on the correct type of chemicals to use or the duration of the same. It should be taken after spraying before harvesting, which helps heal the problem at its source, ”said Mr. Tito.