Farmers export less than a tonne of bananas despite South Korea deal

Harvested bananas for sale

Kenyan farmers have exported less than a tonne of bananas and broccoli to South Korea, five years after the two nations struck a bilateral deal for supplies to the Asian country.The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) has attributed the low volumes to lack of awareness by farmers.

Kenya in May 2015 initiated a bilateral agreement to ease access to the South Korean market for various products from Kenya, a move that saw the country allowed to export unripe banana and broccoli, which would not require pest risk analysis as it is the case with other products.

Kephis has urged interested groups and individuals to register with Horticulture Crops Directorate as an exporter for horticultural products.“Kephis therefore wishes to encourage the youth, women and farmers to increase volumes of unripe banana and broccoli to South Korea as the market for these commodities is open,” the agency said.

“The client should register with Kephis by submitting statutory documents to be issued with credentials for accessing the Electronic Certification System in order to make electronic applications for inspection and issuance of phytosanitary certificates,” added the regulator.

Phytosanitary certificates will be issued upon inspection and confirming that the bananas are free from pests and pest damage and meet quality requirements.

South Korea imports 70 percent of its food and in 2017, bananas were the most imported product recording 834,000 tonnes, according to statistics released by the South Korea Customs Service.

United States of America is the largest fruit exporter to South Korea, accounting for 38.3 percent of the total fruit imports.

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