Upper Hill, Nairobi – KEPHIS has started the development of the National Phytosanitary Policy to guide the agriculture sector on intervention measures to be implemented to support the prevention of introduction and spread of pests into Kenya and to facilitate trade. The Policy will evaluate the current phytosanitary (plant health) system in Kenya, its strengths as well as identify issues that hinder the implementation of an efficient and effective plant health system.
The drafting of the Policy comes at a time when Cap 324, which is the Plant Protection Act in Kenya, is also being reviewed.
Speaking during the inception meeting for senior management staff, KEPHIS MD Prof. Theophilus Mutui noted that plants are capable of harboring damaging pests which are injurious to agricultural productivity, food security and trade.
“Failure to manage these pests will negatively impact not only livelihoods of 40% of Kenya’s population which is engaged in the sector, but also the wellbeing of all Kenyans in so far as food security and cost of living is concerned,” he stated.
He added that for a holistic management of all plant health issues, it is important to have a Policy that will give direction on how the country should strategize towards its effective protection.
Agriculture is Kenya’s mainstay and contributes directly 26%of GDP and another 27% of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors.
Part of KEPHIS senior management who attended the inception meeting to discuss the development of the National Phytosanitary Policy that will guide the agriculture sector on the intervention measures to be implemented to support the prevention of introduction and spread of pests into Kenya and to facilitate trade
Further, Kenya being a signatory to World Trade Organization-Sanitary and Phytosanitary WTO-SPS agreement and the and the International Plant Protection Convention, the country must continue meeting its obligations to derive the benefits under these agreements, hence the importance of having an effective plant health regulatory framework that will ensure compliance to plant health requirements.
Dr Josephine Songa, Director, Agricultural Policy and Institutional Capacity Development at the USAID-Kenya Crops and Dairy Market System’s Activity and Ms. Hellen Mwarey, KEPHIS Head of Phytosanitary and Biosecurity during the inception meeting of developing the National Phytosanitary Policy
The development of the Policy is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives and the USAID Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems(KCDMS).