The International Phytosanitary (TIP) conference, set to be hosted in Kenya by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), is the first of its kind in Kenya and Africa. The international plant health conference in Kenya, and which will be held in Nairobi on 12-16th September 2016, will discuss issues pertaining to plant health and pest’s invasion control measures. In addition, it will address the issue of the export market that is vital to most horticultural farmers in Africa.
In the international plant health conference, Kenya aims to use the opportunity to display procedures it has put in place so as to conform to international standards. Kephis is the body responsible for checking the quality of produce and standards conformity in Kenya. Dr. Esther Kimani, the Managing Director of Kephis, said that Kenya will use the opportunity of the Phytosanitary conference to expand its share in the multi-billion export market. Kenya expects to get a bigger share of the export market, more than the Ksh100 billion it earned in the year 2015.
Among the main agenda to be discussed is Pest Invasion control which is a great threat in crop production. The International Phytosanitary conference will bring together various plant protection organizations to address the challenges the African countries are going through to meet the phytosanitary requirements for the fresh produce market.
In the year 2015, the EU, which imports about 80% of Kenya’s fresh produce, rejected about 15% of the Kenyan produce which did not meet the accepted standards of pesticide residue. The pest invasion has led to some countries such as South Africa, banning vulnerable imports from Mozambique until the farmers have addressed the issues. The ban was due to the fruit fly invasion on the Mozambique’s crops.
Pest infections image ippc.int
Dr. Lesiyampe, the Agriculture principal secretary, noted that pests reduce crop production by 33%. The effect of this loss is poverty and reduced income rates at an individual and country level. This results in many export commodities getting lost.
Delegates at the International Phytosanitary conference in Kenya, will propose ways of alleviating against diseases like Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, Tuta Absoluta ( tomato leaf miner) that affects tomatoes, and others that threaten the regional food security.