The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) have received US$ 1.3 million (approximately KShs. 130 million) from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to transform their manual platforms to automated platforms.
KEPHIS will receive US$ 450,000 while AFA will take home US$ 850,000 to build a system to hasten the issuance of seed certificates to traders and centralise existing information, improve efficiency and service delivery respectively.
This move is expected to boost efficiency, transparency and predictability in the trading of agricultural produce and products as well as reduce costs along the value chain to guarantee higher earnings to farmers, improve food security for the country and for export.
TMEA Senior Director Trade Environment, Richard Kamajugo said, “This quest enshrined in the national vision pillars of economic development, fits in well with TMEA’s vision of growing prosperity in East Africa through trade; increased agricultural produce and products trade will significantly contribute to one of TMEA’s results target; 10% increase in value of exports from the EAC region.”
AFA Director General, Mr. Alfred Busolo, “The benefits of the tea industry portal have already been realized as stakeholders are able to make online application for their licenses and registration at the comfort of their offices, a move that has immensely reduced the turnaround time and cost. I am happy that other sub-sectors, including horticultural crops, sugar, coffee, fibre crops, nuts and oil crops, food crops, and pyrethrum and other industrial crops will benefit from the latest support.”
Similarly KEPHIS, the technical regulator of plant inputs and produce including, seed certification and issuance of permits for exports and imports will improve its processes, as the seed industry is a critical linkage in the improvement of agricultural productivity.
KEPHIS MD Dr. Esther Kimani reiterated the benefits of the funding to farmers. “The farming community will be assured of quality certified seed that has gone through stringent quality assurance processes. This will lead to enhanced harvests, hence food security. We envisage a reduction of fake seed in the market and high demand for certified seed, “she said.
Apart from improved administration of trade related documents; increasing KEPHIS’s productivity, reducing the cost and time associated with processing and issuing of permits/certificates. The system will eliminate the need for physical interaction hence reduced administrative time and costs and acquisition of agricultural trade regulatory documents.