Chinese inspectors are set to visit Nairobi this month for certification checks on agricultural produce, putting Kenya on the path to fresh produce export to the expansive Asian market.
Nairobi and Beijing last November inked a Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) deal which will see Kenyan exporters sell their farm produce to the populous China upon meeting set health standards and requirements.
The agreement, which followed a week-long intense negotiations in Shanghai during the inaugural China International Import Expo, covered more than a dozen of fresh produce where Nairobi has traditionally relied on Europe for market.
“We have a team coming in from China on March 27 for the final certification of our produce and then we are good to go,” Jaswinder Bedi, chairman of state-run Export Promotion Council (EPC), said by telephone.
“We will start seeing a difference (growth in exports) because market expansion is now happening. It takes time to negotiate with some of these countries because they use technical barriers of trade to stop your exports.”
Range of produce
They include cut flowers, vegetables, avocados, French beans, legumes (such as peas, beans and green grams), herbs, mangoes, peanuts and macadamia.
Other produce in line for sale in Chinese markets are meat, hides and skins, bixa, gum arabica and myrr as well as Asian vegetables such as chilli and karela, according to a November statement by State House’s press office.
“It (Chinese market) is a massive opportunity for us. Now that we have signed an SPI with China where we did not have market access, we are now sensitising all our counties. We are telling them ‘we have opened market for you, start exporting’,” Mr Bedi said.