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Waiver on seeds inspection fees at country of origin boosts traders

Betty Maina
Trade Secretary Betty Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Traders and farmers are set to benefit after the government permanently waived mandatory inspection fee on seed and pesticides at the country of origin, which will lower the cost of the inputs.

Last month, Trade Cabinet secretary Betty Maina had waived the pre-export verification of conformity (PVoC) from the country of origin for six months after the Agriculture ministry made the request due to importer complaints.

In a special issue of the gazette notice dated April 28, Ms Maina said seed and pesticide among other items would be exempted from the requirement, which traders had argued introduced bureaucracy, causing delays and high costs.

“This is a welcome move that will go a long way in benefiting farmers in the country as it will cut the cost of imports leading to cheap and readily available seed for farmers,” said Duncan Onduu, chief executive at Seed Trade Association of Kenya.

Since the introduction of the certificate of conformity rules last year, seed importers have incurred Sh24 million in penalties for lacking the conformity certificate, increasing their cost of doing business.

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“The introduction of PVoC programme brought complexities to a well-regulated regime of seed importation. This inadvertently resulted in bottlenecks and bureaucracy in accessing certified seed making it a challenge to guarantee food security,” said the CEO.

Mr Onduu said the trade regime under PVoC threatened to erode gains in the seed sector.

Last year, the Kenya Bureau of Standards made it mandatory for importers to comply with PVoC before shipments and produce a compliance certificate once the goods arrive.

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