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Economy

Farmers decry influx of US, Brazil poultry products in Kenya market

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri
Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Poultry products from the US and Brazil have flooded the Kenyan market, sector players say, even as the Agriculture ministry lobbies Parliament for a legal framework to set up a Food Safety Authority.

Lobbies representing poultry farmers and traders said last week’s US Trade Mission in Nairobi was likely to open the floodgates for US chicken imports that are already hurting local business.

“We understand that Kenya enjoys a duty and quota free window in exporting goods to the US under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act but this should not be a reciprocal measure as it will kill small-scale poultry farming,” the lobby groups told journalists in Nairobi.

Animal Feed Manufacturers, Kenya Poultry Farmers Association and the Kenya Poultry Breeders have so far written to the State seeking intervention.

Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai confirmed that a delegation from the Veterinary department left for the US to conduct a risk analysis of the poultry market in the US.

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Mr Kimtai also confirmed that poultry products from the US found their way to the Kenyan market through Zanzibar, purporting to have originated from the island nation.

“We dispatched some officials from the Vet department to conduct a risk analysis of the poultry market in the US on request of an importer who wants to bring in poultry products,” said Mr Kimtai.

Agriculture secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, appearing in Parliament moments later told MPs Wednesday that the Government would release a report on food safety in two weeks after a team from the US finalises its work.

He also asked the MPs to change the laws so the Agriculture ministry could set its own agency – the National Food Safety Authority – to monitor quality of food in the market.

“The issue of food safety is of concern to the ministry. It is a high time we came up with food safety authority given the recent reports on aflatoxin contamination. We want you to give it a political voice once we establish this authority,” Mr Kiunjuri said when he appeared before the National Assembly’s committee on Agriculture.

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