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New Sh250 million laboratory complex to boost safety, quality of farm produce

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Kenyan agricultural products are set to be safer following completion of Sh250 million laboratory complex that will ensure that all produce meet the international standards.

The complex, which has been constructed by the European Union in partnership with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, will be used to test fertilisers, seeds, soil and water before use on farms, thus facilitating production of healthy plants, sustainable agro-environment and safe trade.

The lab will also be used to test all genetically modified food materials, something that the government says will go a long way putting Kenyans’ fears to rest.

Speaking during the launch Deputy President William Ruto said the project was a milestone to the development of agricultural sector and will ensure that the nation has good and quality seeds, fertilisers, soil and water to improve production and this will lead to higher exports to European market and the world.

“This laboratory will use the latest technology to test and approve the right quality of produce that meets the EU market requirements. Also, it will assure the quality of agricultural inputs and produce destined for the key EU markets which include flowers, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs,” he said.

Ruto said the country needs new markets in Asia, America and other areas. “We are happy that we now have horticultural produce markets in Australia and China but we need to have more market because new markets will help drive Kenya’s industrialisation,” he said.

Hubert Perr, head of Development and Cooperation at European Union, said strong ties between Kenya and European countries are helping Kenya meet international trade requirements. He also added that European Union will continue to work closely with Kephis to enable more agricultural produce to access European market.

The permanent Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Prof Richard Lesiyampe, said the government is putting more emphasis on development of horticulture sector which contributes eight per cent of national GDP. “We are also putting measures aimed at ensuring access to market across the globe,” he said.

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