Ambassador Mwende Mwinzi before the Defence and Foreign Relations committee at Parliament Buildings on May 28
Despite Kenya having clearance for green banana, broccoli, it is yet to take action
• The Animal and Plant Quantitative Authority issued clearance for two protocols in 2016 (green banana at 30 per cent tariff and broccoli at 27 per cent tariff).
• Kenya took no action. No green banana exports have been effected to date
Kenya has not penetrated the Korean market for fresh produce because of poor momentum, Ambassador Mwende Mwinzi has said.
Ambassador Mwinzi said despite Kenya having clearance for two protocols for green banana and broccoli in 2016, it is yet to take any action.
She spoke during a virtual meeting with Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya members led by its CEO Okisegere Ojepat on Monday.
The Animal and Plant Quantitative Authority issued clearance for two protocols in 2016 (green banana at 30 per cent tariff and broccoli at 27 per cent tariff). Kenya took no action. No green banana exports have been effected to date”.
“Further, only 100kgs of broccoli have been exported to Korea for purposes of testing with no further requests made for Kenyan broccoli,” Mwinzi said in her presentation.
She also noted that the list of produce pending approval is obsolete and a new one is required.
The pending protocols are on baby carrots, baby corn, bitter guard, avocado, garden peas, passion fruits and pineapples.
“In addition to poor marketing, Kenya faces challenges such as high tariffs and transit time. There are concerns regarding consistency and supply and quality,” Mwinzi said.
There are no direct flights to South Korea but Mwinzi said if and when Kenya has enough cargo, KQ has said it will be happy to commence the flights.
“Many Koreans are interested in Kenya. Kenya is increasingly becoming visible to Korea both in the public and private sector as well as tourism,” the envoy said.
In April, Trade PS Johnson Weru wrote to the Council of Governors CEO saying despite the opportunity to export the produce, the volume is ‘dismally small”.
Following a visit by then Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma to South Korea on October 8, 2018, Kenya was granted market access authorisation for unripe bananas and broccoli.
"In spite of the offer, we have noted that the volume of exports of these two products is dismally small. For acquisition of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) conformity certificates, you are advised to refer any interested counties to the Managing Director – Kephis,” Weru wrote to CoG’s Jacqueline Mogeni on April 29.
Mwinzi said the update for Kenyan broccoli has been low due to market saturation from other source markets such as China.
Major banana exporters to Korea are Delmonte, Dole and Sumifuru, Mwinzi said.
She said bananas a competitively priced, with the Philippines selling at $7-8 for a 13kg box with 10 or six pieces, while Colombia sells at $10-11 for a box.
To access and unlock the market, Mwinzi said her mission is engaging government and private sector players in Korea, facilitating the creation of a business directory in collaboration with the Korea Africa Foundation, and well as the Kenya-Korea Chamber of Commerce.
“We are also working on prompt dissemination of market intelligence and awareness campaign on prospective opportunities between countries,” she said.
Sunripe Vertical Agro MD Hasit Shah said he was impressed by the new momentum and that a lot of progress is happening. He said his firm is expected to send samples for export by the end of the month.
“Since some of the companies are already established for years, value addition for us is advantageous,” Shah, whose farm is in Naivasha, said.
Trade representative Serah Kimani, who represented CS Betty Maina, said the government is ready to offer any support, urging the private sector to stay engaged.
Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga said the regional economic bloc is ready to join hands and ensure they export banana from Kisumu International Airport.
He said the region already produces a lot of bananas and has the potential to directly export to South Korea. By Eliud Kibii, The Star