Enhancing the Quality & Safety of Food in the Domestic Horticultural Sector

18
Apr

Enhancing the Quality & Safety of Food in the Domestic Horticultural Sector

Kenarava Group Ltd, KEPHIS and IagribizAfrica held a training at Ikigai – Westlands, General Mathenge Drive on 18th April 2019. The focus of the training was “enhancing the quality and safety of Food in the Domestic Horticultural sector.”

The training began with a teaser, where Kenarava Group Chairman, Ronald Diang’a shared some thoughts on the status of Food Safety in the Country. He asked “How does food that is rejected in the Export market, find its way back to the local market? Are there local/domestic standards that we can test the food we consume locally against?

Consumer - Driven demand is the new trend to help attain food safety in the domestic horticultural sector. Similarly, consumer awareness or education is the foundation of food safety.

This ushered in an engaging and interactive session facilitated by KEPHIS Inspector, Abigael Koech. The session discussed some of the good Agricultural practices that are key to attaining food safety. These Included:

  1. CROP MANAGEMENT

The Facilitator highlighted on the importance of scouting to identify pests and diseases on any crop. Because this is important in selecting the correct chemical to use to mitigate effects of the pests and diseases. Though she emphasized on the strict following of Spray Programs and fertilizer schedule to ensure the farmer reduces the amount of chemical traces in the final produce.

It was firmly identified that the role of service providers (Spray services, agronomic support) as a new trend is important in guiding the production unit of every farmer to adhere to the good agricultural practices.

2. TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION

The role technology and innovations like Greenhouses which help to improve the quality and safety of food by reducing pests were also discussed. Technology was identified as an enabler to enhance handling of various produce across the value chain (From the producers – distributors – consumers). With technology, there are deliberate efforts to come up with traceability systems that are able to track the quality and safety of the food from the farm to the plate.

Some of the challenges identified to be affecting the domestic horticultural sector include: Systematic issues among the regulatory bodies changed with the mandate to enforce domestic standards, in adequate information on handling of food from production to distribution to the end consumer. The biggest risk multiplier, climate change was also identified as a major contributor to the deteriorating state of food in the domestic horticultural sector.

The training also identified the different stakeholders’ roles in enhancing the quality and safety of food in the domestic horticultural Market. These roles are the NEXT concrete steps that need to be undertaken to improve the safety and quality of Food in the domestic market. They include;

FARMERS GOVERNMENT DISTRIBUTORS CONSUMERS
 

  • Crop Management: Farmers to adhere to Strict spray regimes, fertilizer program and Scouting of pests (Proper identification of pests)

 

  • Farmer Driven awareness

 

  • Farmer – Driven solutions (Farmer Innovativeness)
  • Enact and Enforce Regulations guiding Quality and Safety of Food

 

  • Conduct continued research on products and new trends
 

  • Enhance transportation and packaging hygiene knowledge
 

  • Consumer education/awareness

 

  • Consumer – Driven demand for quality and safe food

The partners also reaffirmed their commitment to furthering the conversation on domestic food safety through online platform (#MoneyInTheSoil and #AgribusinessTalk254) on Farm and Off Farm training sessions. As a follow – up there are plans to organize a farmers field day to share information on good agricultural practices that will help improve the quality and safety of food in the domestic horticultural market.

 

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