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Kenya aims to beat EU deadline over fresh produce

Kenya is working towards beating the 30 September European Union deadline to ensure horticultural produce meets the stringent European Union (EU) safety standards

The horticulture sector has earned Kenya more than US$1.1bn in 2013 up from US$1.01bn in 2013, and employs more than six million directly and indirectly.

The EU imports more than 40 per cent of Kenya’s fresh produce including foods and flowers which have high levels of chemicals present, making authorities in the country increase inspections and extension services to improve farmers’ knowledge.

According to the EU, mangoes, karella and gypsophia and eryngium flower exports have been harbouring fruit flies, leave miners and thrips and the EU has threatened sanctions if they are not eradicated.

The EU has also revised the maximum chemical residue levels from 0.2 per cent to 0.02 per cent in all exported food products to meet consumer standards, it said.

The union has recently stepped up testing fresh produce for pesticides including dimethoate and other organophosphate chemicals blamed for the increase in cancer cases in Europe and Africa.