The export of fresh produce keeps growing in popularity, and Kenya is known for growing and exporting high quality fresh produce to the European market and other parts of the world.
Over the years, the export business has been largely dominated by large-scale commercial growers.
However, just about anybody can tap into that huge international market as long as they understand the ins and outs of the trade.
If you feel that you have what it takes to become an exporter, well, I’m gonna help you to achieve just that.
In this article, you are going to learn how to export fresh produce from Kenya and all the requirements that you will need along the way.
My only assumption is that you already have clients abroad.
If you don’t, this article is not going to help you and my advice to you is to first get yourself clients from overseas.
If you are past this stage, let’s begin.
Requirements for exporting fresh cut flowers
Fresh cut flowers have always been in great demand in most European countries especially during special occasions such as the Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, and Easter Holidays.
Instead of selling your flowers locally to agents or middlemen, why not export them to get maximum returns possible. Among the most important requirements, the following are must-haves.
1. Apply for an Export license from Horticultural Crops Directorate (AFFA-HCD)
To be approved for the issuance of an export license, you must undergo a vetting process to demonstrate that;
-You are practicing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP certification).
-You’ve put in place environmental conservation measures.
-You have a traceability system in place.
-You and/or your staff have attended annual training on the safe and effective use of chemicals.
-You have a clear pest control protocol.
The export license is renewed annually.
2. Conformity and Phytosanitary certificate from KEPHIS
Phytosanitary and conformity certificates are applied online prior to approval by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS). The physical inspection is done at the airport to ascertain that your flowers are free from any harmful pests.
Tip: Hire a clearing agent and documentation clerks to facilitate your documentation at the airport so that you can concentrate on running your agribusiness.
Requirements for exporting fruits and vegetables
As opposed to fresh cut flowers, more emphasis is placed on the growing and exporting of fruits and vegetables to enhance food safety. There are more stringent measures on fruits and vegetables and times this discourages many exporters would be.
However, in my experience, compliance with the standards has always proved to be cheaper and cost-efficient as opposed to non-compliance.
Therefore, if you want to succeed with your export business, always do the right thing no matter how bureaucratic things might get sometimes. To start us off, you’ll need
- An Export license from Horticultural Crops Directorate under Agricultural Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA-HCD). – The process of acquiring the license is more or less as I have described above.
- Conformity and Phytosanitary certificates from KEPHIS
- Global GAP Certification. There are accredited bodies such as AfriCert, EnCert, and Bureau Veritas Kenya, that conducts farm audits to verify whether you meet the Global GAP standards or otherwise.
- Euro 1 Certificate in the event that you’re targeting any market in the European Union.
- BRC Certification for UK supermarkets.
- Maximum Residue Levels limit, commonly known as ‘MRL limit compliance’ which is required for EU market.
Tip: It’s important to check the requirements for each certification and work on it beforehand. You can also employ the services of a consultant to help out with the technicalities involved in the process.
Common fruits and vegetables with a huge international export market
If you want to diversify your enterprises, the following are some of the fresh produces that are in high demand in Europe.
They are; French beans (extra fine, fine, and bobby), Snow peas, Mango, Avocado, Passion fruits, Red onions, Sweetcorn, Red cabbage, Coriander, Sugar snaps, Courgettes, Asparagus, and Baby corns.
Note: Always keep in mind that market requirements are not the same as product specifications. Specifications are arranged between you and the client. For example, if you intend to export French beans, your client may prefer only fine or extra fine or whatever. Those are product specifications.
You’ve just read how to export fresh produce from Kenya.
So next time you’re manipulated by rogue middlemen, that gives you peanuts for your produce, you will only have you to blame.