KFC Profile


KFC PROFILE

Kenya Flower Council (KFC) is a voluntary association of independent growers and exporters of cut-flowers and ornamentals, formed in 1996, with the aim of fostering responsible and safe production of cut flowers in Kenya with due consideration of workers welfare and protection of the environment. 

Against this background the KFC has become a common platform for industry representation, promotion and compliance to pertinent local and international standards, deemed necessary to secure markets.

KFC administers compliance through an internationally accredited KFC Code of Practice (CoP) on good agricultural practice, sustainability, social accountability, hygiene health and safety, capacity building, environmental protection and conservation, adherence to which is the backbone of all KFC activities. 

The Certification Scheme comprising the KFC CoP and Quality Management Systems is accredited by the South African National Accreditation Systems (SANAS), as a Certification Body (C49), in accordance with ISO Guide 65:1999. 

In order to remain relevant, the Code which is a living document stays abreast with industry dynamics. Benchmarking the KFC CoP to other codes such as GlobalGap, Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP), Tescos Nurture, KS- 1758 in addition to 23 different Kenya Government statutes, provides an opportunity to conduct “Combi” audits as a measure of effective and efficient service to members.

It also embraces the principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention, International Code of Conduct (ICC), Ethical Trade Initiatives (ETI) and the Horticulture Ethical Business Initiatives. 

As of January 2015, KFC had a producer membership of 80 flower farms situated throughout the country. The current KFC membership represents about 50 – 60% of the flowers exported from Kenya. Associate membership stands at 58 members representing major Cut Flower Auctions and Distributors in UK, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Kenya. Associate members are involved in the flower sector through flower imports, provision of farm inputs and other affiliated services.

KFC is a member of:

  1. Global Gap
  2. Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI)
  3. Union Fleurs
  4. COLEACP
  5. Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC)
  6. Horticulture Council of Africa (HCA)
  7. Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) 
  8. Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
  9. Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE)
  10. National Taskforce on Horticulture.

THE VISION
“To be the lead organization in the provision of representational, self-regulation and promotion services for the floriculture industry in Kenya.”

STRATEGY
“Active participation in the formulation and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the floriculture sector”.

THE MISSION
“To promote economic, social and political interests of the floriculture industry through active participation in the determination and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the sector”.

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KFC-EU Flamingo Farm Visit Report

March 6, 2015March 6, 2015
KFC-EU Flamingo Farm Visit Report The Kenya Flower Council and European Union members made a visit to Flamingo farm in Naivasha on 10th February 2015.A report on this visit can be read by clicking on the link pdfadobe      KFC-EU Flamingo Farm Visit Report February 2015

Celebrations for African day of Standardization

March 6, 2015

Celebrations for African day of Standardization

Kenya will be joining the rest of the African Continent in Celebrating African Day of Standardization on 17th March 2015. The event will be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC). The event is celebrated each year to commemorate the birth and foundation of African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) by the African Union in January 1977 with an objective of promoting sustainable development in Africa through standardization and conformity assessment.

The theme this year is “The role of Standards in Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.” The event will also include a made in Africa Exhibition targeting local industries.

Kenya among the fastest-growing economies in East Africa

March 6, 2015

Kenya among the fastest-growing economies in East Africa

The World Bank has launched the 11th edition of the ‎Kenya Economic Update (KEU) on Thursday, March 5, 2015. With solid growth continuing in infrastructure, agricultural production, manufacturing and other industries, Kenya is poised to be among the fastest-growing economies in East Africa, according to the latest World Bank Group’s (WBG) economic analysis for the country.

WBG forecasts a growth rate of 6% in 2015, and predicts that the positive trend will continue with the growth rate rising to 6.6% in 2016 and 7% in 2017.

“To sustain momentum, Kenya needs to continue investing in infrastructure and jobs, improve its business climate, and boost it exports,” said Diarietou Gaye, the World Bank’s Country Director for Kenya.

According to the report, Kenya’s expansive fiscal policy allowed the country to finance infrastructure projects without putting excessive pressure on domestic financial markets while at the same time, keeping public debt within the 50% threshold.

“Kenya’s accommodative monetary policy stance has supported economic activities without triggering inflation or putting pressure on the exchange rate” said John Randa, WBG senior economist for Kenya and lead author of the report.

Challenges remain Sluggish demand for exports and their declining production is widening the country’s current account deficit. The report suggests that in order to anchor and sustain growth, Kenya needs to boost productivity and improve the business environment to regain and increase its competitiveness.

KENYA – JAPAN BUSINESS FORUM

March 6, 2015

KENYA - JAPAN BUSINESS FORUM

The Kenya Flower Council participated in the preparatory meeting of the Kenya – Japan business forum which will take place on March 16, 2015 led by His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta. The president will be attending the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan from 14th – 16th March, 2015.

On the sideline of the conference, The Kenya Embassy in Tokyo has organized a business forum which will provide an opportunity for leading members of the Japanese business community to get first hand briefing on the business environment in Kenya; it will also offer an opportunity for the business community from Kenya and Japan to interact.

KFC presented the challenges that the flower exporters face as they do business with Japan a market that is coming up fast. Some of the issues included luck of a direct freight hence they have to go through Middle East, fumigation remains expensive and also freight costs are very expensive due to volume weight charge.

Industrialization Ministerial Stakeholder Forum

March 2, 2015March 2, 2015

Industrialization Ministerial Stakeholder Forum

The Kenya Flower Council attended a Ministerial Stakeholder Forum (MSF) with the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development at the ministry’s office organized by KEPSA. The MSF was chaired by Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Mr. Adan Mohamed and KEPSA Trade and Investment sector board chair Mr. Jas Bedi.

The key issues that were discussed during the forum included:

  •   Progress on Doing Business Indicators (DBI) report reforms
  •   Road map to industrialization
  •   Special Economic Zones Bill & Policy
  •   National Industrialization Policy
  •   Optimization of Internal Market
  •   Development of industrial parks and availability of affordable land
  •   The investment regulatory environment
  •   Review of the tax regimes

CS Mohamed said his ministry is in the process of identifying land for at least five industrial zones in Naivasha and between Nairobi and Mombasa. The nature of the parks will however be determined by interest from would be investors with the local private sector charged with the responsibility of helping to identify interested investors. To further utilize existing and upcoming infrastructure, the CS urged the private sector to familiarize itself with all key infrastructure projects such as the SGR so as to help identify potential areas for investment.

CS Mohammed also proposed a meeting between his ministry and KEPSA in order to iron out thorny issues in the special economic zones (SEZ) bill.

The issue of Import Declaration Fee (IDF) was raised and the Cabinet Secretary pointed out the initial role of IDF was to ensure that sub-standard goods did not come into the country. However, it had now turned into a tax of 2.25% and this reduces Kenya’s competitiveness in EAC as this fee is lower in Tanzania at 1.2% and Rwanda at 0.8%. It was agreed that there was need to review this but with proposals on how to supplement the probable loss of revenue.

Members sought to have East Africa Business Council (EABC) institutionalized as voice of the regional private sector with a designated slot in the next East African Heads of State Summit for submissions from the private sector for endorsement.

Moving forward, CS Mohamed asked KEPSA to convene a meeting between EABC, the regional private sector and his ministry to raise key issues and chart the way forward in regard to regional trade issues affecting business. He also emphasized on the need to abide to one rule book that applies to all the five countries.

KAM hosts sensitization seminar on immigration issues

March 2, 2015

KAM hosts sensitization seminar on immigration issues

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), where Kenya Flower Council is a member, today hosted a sensitization seminar for manufacturers on February 25, 2015 aimed at bringing members up to speed on changes in Immigration requirements for various applications and to raise awareness on immigration processes.

Addressing KAM members in Nairobi, the Director General of Immigration, Major General (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa spoke of transparency measures that have recently been undertaken at the department saying

"Immigration does not favor or show prejudice when issuing work permits, citizenship or permanent residency," he said

He added that Immigration details are everywhere and any unethical conduct should be communicated. In case of delays in issuing work permits, the Director requested that members apply for special permits.

This year there has been an effort to minimize the back log on citizenship applications and it now takes 3 to 5 days to renew a passport and 10 days to get a new passport. 800 passports are processed in Nairobi while 80 are processed in Mombasa and 80 in Kisumu daily and 350 permits are issued weekly at a cost of 22,000/- per permit.

New developments included a centralized and cashless payment system, and the department is in the process of procuring an e-passports and an e-visa system.

The immigration team will communicate if there are any delays in issuance of work permits, permanent residency and citizenship as they hold weekly meetings for approval. If work permits applied 3 weeks prior to expiry, it will take 2 months to process. KAM will look into the possibility of expanding the partnership with Immigration going forward.

Last year, the following changes were made at the immigration department.

1. Effective 3rd November 2014 all processed immigration papers i.e. Notification of work permit approvals, deferral notes, rejections and special passes will be dispatched through postal box address. Members should therefore give correct addresses in their applications.

2. New Immigration check list form needs to be signed - When submitting work permit/special pass/ pupils pass/Dependents pass applications, the person submitting application will be required to sign the check list, produce an original ID card / passport and submit a copy of the identification documents.

3. For class G permits (investor permits), the application should have a separate list of Kenyans already employed (in case of renewal).

4. For class D / employment permit - Provision for understudy details should include certified copies of academic certificates & full contacts - Address, email and cell phone number.

5. Copies of passport - to show current immigration status if in the country.

6. Reminder - application for permit renewal should be submitted to immigration two months prior to expiry of the permit.

 

VAT refund claims backlog to be cleared

March 2, 2015

VAT refund claims backlog to be cleared

The National treasury has announced on the criteria they will use to clear the backlog of the VAT Refund claims. The National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority carried out a verification exercise to address the long standing issues of the VAT Refund claims backlog with a view to conclude the matter.

According to a press statement released today, the actual pending VAT refund claims backlog up to 31st Dec 2031 amounts to Kshs 19.2 billion.

The first installment of this backlog amounting to Kshs 11.2 billion of claims has been processed and verified and Kshs 9.3 billion is payable. In this regard, they have identified three categories of claimants as follows:

1. Those claimants with no debt where the payable amount is Kshs 2. 3 billion. This amount will be paid immediately.

2. Those with debts, but have a positive balance. The amount payable to this category is Kshs 4.7 billion but have debt of Kshs 2.0 billion. The net payable is Kshs 2.7 billion. The debts will be reconciled by KRA and any payable amount paid immediately.

3. Those claimant where the debt is more than what is payable to them. The amount payable to this category is Kshs 2.7 billion but the debts amount to Kshs 11 billion. The debts will be reconciled with a view to having the claimants settle their debts with KRA.

The 2nd and final installment amounting to Kshs 8 billion is being processed and payments will be made immediately after verification and debt reconciliation are finalized. This whole process is expected to be finalized before March 30, 2015.

KFC meets with KRA to address issues affecting the Flower Industry

March 2, 2015

KFC meets with KRA to address issues affecting the Flower Industry

The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) held a lobby meeting with senior Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) managers to address some of the current issues affecting the industry. The meeting held on Monday February 23, 2015, had a main agenda of addressing challenges with VAT refunds filed both on i-tax platform and manually. We also got a chance to address the recurring shortage of GSP and EUR-1 forms, availability of officers to stamp and sign the forms at the JKIA during weekends and public holidays and possible areas of cooperation with KRA to enhance compliance.

In regard to VAT refunds, the floriculture industry has now been re-designated to a low risk industry after certain levels of confidence were achieved. The industry was commended for the progress in uptake of i-tax, which has greatly reduced the amount of time taken to process refunds. In the last 8 months there has been a lot of effort to pay refunds for the flower industry. About 80% of the refunds for the period Jan 2014 to date have been processed. Claims dating from January 2014 onwards are being handled by KRA while those dating prior to Jan 2014 (backlog) are being handled by treasury. Some delays in VAT refunds are inevitable and some of the reasons include;

• Where all documents/information are not provided or cannot be verified • Some exporters double filing claims i.e. manually and through i-tax, thereby raising red flags • If an exporter is indebted to KRA, refunds will not be paid until the outstanding debt(s) is cleared

Regarding shortage of GSP and Eur-1 forms, KRA was working towards a one stop station where the forms will be available for purchase and processed. KFC asked for a permanent solution to this shortage and encouraged KRA to automate the issuance process, similar to the automation of ordinary certificates of origin being handled by Kenya Chamber of Commerce. KRA also assured that there should be officers available over the weekend to process the forms.

KFC was encouraged to take up a seat in the TREO committee to champion its member’s issues. The industry was also encouraged to join the Authorized Economic Operators platform which would offer a green channel with KRA processes for those who had joined.

KFC also attended a meeting between KEPSA and the KRA Commissioner General, Mr. John Njiraini. The Commissioner General reiterated KRA’s commitment to the President’s directive to process Kshs 10 billion worth of refunds by end of February 2015. He reported that claims worth Kshs 9.8 had been processed and sent to treasury for payment. A committee is already in place to validate the claims and KRA is already working to clarify issues raised. He cited challenges identified in the processing of old claims which included the verification of claims mainly those not captured by the Simba system.

Another challenge was outstanding tax debts with refund claimants. KRA is working on a strategy to ‘clean its ledgers’ as some of the debts may be wrong. Mr. Njiraini also confirmed that refund claims from traditional exports such as horticulture were now not being subjected to the rigorous audit process. To enhance integrity, KRA has centralized processing of refunds, and that there is a queuing procedure that allows for a 1st come 1st paid basis. Further notifications for audit by KRA must give a reason why the audit is necessary.

KRA is also setting up an internal structure that will see 80% of disputes with tax payers resolved without courts being involved. Apart from being expensive and lengthy, Njiraini said that the court battles were damaging KRA-Client relations.

He added that KRA is working on a unified returns process that will see PAYE, NSSF, NHIF and stamp duty filed together. A piloting with NSSF is expected to take place starting in April 2015. A full rollout is expected to take place in July 2015.

Donating for a worthy cause

February 24, 2015February 24, 2015

Donating for a worthy cause

The Kenya Flower Council and Kenya Road Safety network ambassador DJ Pierra Makena lit up the faces of spinal injury patients by donating flowers to them. This took place the week proceeding Valentine’s Day last week. The flowers were donated by Magana Flowers through KFC.

Speaking to KFC, Gathoni Mungai, Director For Strategy-Magana Flowers Kenya Limited, said “Magana Flowers is always happy to see smiles on faces especially of those who are hurting. We will continue supporting KFC in this and other noble activities in future.”

KFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Jane Ngige, in a thank you note said,

“KFC takes this opportunity to sincerely thank you for donating the flowers that were given to patients at the National Injury Hospital. We remain grateful for your continued support with which we have made great strides as an industry. We look forward to our continued fruitful relationship.”

One of the beneficiaries of the gesture, Mrs. Margaret Njeri said,

“It is not all the time that we get generous guests like you. Despite the pain I am going through I am so elated with these flowers and I feel part of the wider community that is celebrating Valentine’s Day! God Bless you.”

KFC and members of the Kenya Road Safety undertake to reach out to hurting members of our society every Valentine. This is to make them feel part and parcel of Valentine celebration and know that there are people out there who are standing by and with them during their predicaments and wishing them quick recovery.

Flower sector performance thrives in 2014

February 24, 2015

Flower sector performance thrives in 2014

The Kenya Flower sector exported 136, 601 metric tonnes valued at Kshs 54.6 billion in the year 2014. This was a remarkable growth for the sector at 9% in volumes and 18% in value compared to 2013.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s horticultural sector earned Kshs 100.8 billion in 2014 a 6% growth in comparison with Kshs 94.7 billion earned in 2013.

This came despite the challenges that the flower industry faced in the last quarter of the year when Kenya started exporting under GSP regime from October 1 to December 25th 2014 following the flop of the finalization of the EAC EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Kenya remains one of the top three exporters of cut flowers in the world. The major markets are the EU, America, Australia, Russia, and Japan among others. To remain competitive the sector needs support especially from the Kenyan Government in branding. This can be achieved by promoting the Kenyan brand in the potential markets like Russia, America amongst others. A direct flight to the US would play a very big role in opening the market which is very promising.

The flower industry is looking forward to a very promising and productive 2015 anticipating more growth better than last year.

 
Type Quantity(MT) Value(KSH) 2013 Quantity(MT) 2014 FOB Value(KSH) 2014 % Change Quantity % Change FOB Value
Flowers 124,858 46,333,368,752 136,601 54,600,346,352 9% 18%
Fresh Vegetables 73,542 17,842,756,059 82,697 18,017,175,035 12% 1%
Dried Vegetables 90,720 5,502,360,598 55,952 3,618,202,264 -38% -34%
Fruits 45,638 4,093,256,565 48,749 4,933,773,923 7% 21%
Processed Fruits 93,608 9,729,703,527 91,120 9,157,217,283 -3% -6%
Processed Vegetables 35,958 8,436,960,935 31,569 6,345,503,844 -12% -25%
Nuts 12,653 2,802,940,552 15,198 4,083,955,537 20% 46%
Total 476,977 94,741,346,987 461,885 100,756,174,239 -3% 6%
Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and compiled by USAID-KHCP  

Syngenta launches a new Nematicide “TERVIGOTM” for flowers

February 23, 2015February 23, 2015
Syngenta launches a new Nematicide “TERVIGOTM” for flowers

Syngenta East Africa Ltd. An associate Member of Kenya Flower Council held a successful launch of a new nematicide for flowers TervigoTM on February 17, 2015. KFC was represented as the chief guest in this auspicious occasion which was attended by flower growers and other service providers for the industry.

Loise Mukami a Lead auditor at KFC, said the launch of Tervigo Nematicide could not have come at a more opportune moment than this for the Industry. Growers yearn to obtain quality Nematicides that can be integrated with IPM; to meet the ever stringent market requirements on safety and environment protection, amongst others.

She commended Syngenta E.A. for working hard on this area to provide growers with successful and efficient products to control pests and diseases.

She added that for Kenya to reap the benefits of a favourable climatic environment and availability of natural resources complimented by a healthy and productive work force, growers will need partners to innovate value added products, services, technology and knowledge to enhance productivity for sustainability.

Through the research findings presented during the launch, TervigoTM has proven activity against a variety of destructive nematodes in ornamental crops. The unique chelated formulation ensures effective protection of the active ingredient for optimal soil penetration and contact with nematodes leading to more vigorous and higher yielding crop.

TervigoTM is a suspension concentrate (SC) containing 20g/L abamectin with the addition of an iron chelate Fe-EDDHA 400g/L. Abamectin as an active ingredient provides effective control of nematodes, while the iron chelate is a micro fertilizer that provides crop enhancement effects especially in alkaline soils.

For more information on the product, kindly contact Mr. Victor Juma of Syngenta at victor.juma@syngenta.com

Devolution and Planning Ministerial Stakeholders Forum

February 23, 2015

Devolution and Planning Ministerial Stakeholders Forum

The Kenya Flower Council attended devolution and planning Ministerial stakeholder’s forum at Harambee House on February 18, 2015. The meeting covered a range of issues including the rising cost of doing business in the Counties following the introduction of devolved system of Government.

According to the Government an Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) has been formed and has directed the National Treasury, the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the Council of Governors (CoG) to constitute an inter-agency committee to discuss ways of streamlining the revenue collection by counties to ensure that businesses operating in and across counties are not affected. The inter-agency will have a policy paper by end of March 2015.

Among other proposed interventions is a civic education programme to sensitize counties on the development of business friendly laws, especially on fees and cess and conduct capacity building and training for devolved Government staff on law development.

Participants urged the government to provide guidance on the relationship between the private sector and the county governments. This is in order to avert the current confusion where it is not clear which ministry intervenes on problems between the private sector and County Governments. To this end, a forum spearheaded by Ministry of Industrialization has been formed, bringing together Ministries of Devolution and planning, Council of Governors and National Treasury among others.

In line with this, the World Bank and the Ministry of Devolution and Planning have developed public participation guidelines which will guide public participation in County law formulation processes. The guidelines are ready and are only awaiting validation.

The meeting also discussed the issue of unemployment whereby the Government indicated that by the end of the year over 200,000 youth would have been employed across the country. The Private sector promised to provide 50,000 mentorship and internship placements for the youth annually.

On decentralization of businesses, the meeting was informed that 13 Huduma centers have been set up in 13 Counties and that 13 new ones will be launched by end of February. Efforts are underway to have the centers in all the 47 Counties. There are 28 Government agencies within these centers and 45 services are being offered at the moment at different levels. KEPSA promised to create awareness among its members about these centers and encourage them to utilize them to ease business.

On its part, the Private Sector will convene a stakeholders meeting through the Council of Governors to develop new policies that will ensure that counties do not introduce levies and taxes that subject businesses to double taxation.

Other items discussed included the implementation of the 1\3 gender rule and low uptake Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO).

Guard Your Preferred Status at the European Union Market-Kenya Told.

February 16, 2015February 16, 2015

Guard Your Preferred Status at the European Union Market-Kenya Told.

DSC02828Stakeholders in the flower industry have been urged to step up efforts to embrace good agricultural practices in the industry if they wish to continue enjoying preferential access to European Markets.

Speaking during a tour of Finlay’s Flamingo farm the European Union Head of Delegation, H.E Lodewijk Briet said, Kenya is an important trade partner of the EU. However, it faces competition from other countries such as Ecuador and Ethiopia. Apart from ratifying the EPA Kenya must strive to ease unnecessary constraints such as transport and reduction in the use of pesticides.

The Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council, Mr. Richard Fox said, the industry constantly receives notifications from the EU on what interceptions to put in place to ensure sustained market access to the EU.

“We work closely with KEPHIS on phytosanitary issues and are aware of the need to use synthetic pesticides and use of natural systems as you saw on the farm. These will address the maximum residue level (MRL) issue which the EU is so much concerned about. We have to develop brand Kenya as a best quality sustainable flower products country.” He added.

The Kenya Flower Council is spearheading efforts to achieve nationwide compliance by flower growers with the aim of sustaining access to the EU market and promoting brand Kenya.

On changes in Government structure, Mr. Fox said that the industry is working closely with County governments to create a conducive environment for flower famers and create jobs. He gave Nakuru and Kiambu Counties as examples of where public private partnership has worked very well for the benefit of stakeholders.

“We have a very good working relationship with County governments. We have received enormous support from them in terms of cess. We are looking at ventures that will create job opportunities in these counties through recycling green waste. The horticulture industry has potential to generate more revenue and more employment and we are working with County governments, particularly Nakuru and Kiambu to achieve this.

Other dignitaries at the function were representatives from the British and Netherlands Embassies in Kenya, Officials from the Nakuru County Governor’s office, HCDA and the Export Promotion Council.

The major market for Kenya’s flowers is Europe where Kenya has a market share of over 30% of flower imports, most of which are transshipped through Holland. Other destinations include the UK, Japan and the USA.

 

Change of KFC email address

February 16, 2015
Change of KFC email address

The Wananchi Group will be terminating their emails services on wananchi.com, wananchi.net and wananchi.co.ke effective March 31, 2015. In this regard, our email address kfc@wananchi.com will cease to operate.

Owing to the above, the Kenya Flower Council general email addresses will be info@kenyaflowercouncil.org and kfc@kenyaflowercouncil.org. We are hereby requesting all to use the email addresses for all general communications.

 

New NHIF rates gazette, take effect in April 2015

February 16, 2015

New NHIF rates gazette, take effect in April 2015

The Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary for Health have gazetted the new NHIF rates that will be in force starting 1st April, 2015. The regulations will be known as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Standard and Special Contributions) Regulations, 2015.http://kenyaflowercouncil.org/pdf/NHIF_RATES_KENYA_GAZETTE_SUPPLEMENT_FEBRUARY_2015.pdf

This therefore means that there will be a new contribution plan to the NHIF pegged on a gross income structure presented by NHIF and outlined in the gazette notice. The least amount to be contributed will be Kshs. 150 for employees with gross earnings of up to Kshs. 5,999 and the maximum contribution will be Kshs. 1,700 for employees with gross earnings of over Kshs. 100,000.

The NSSF rates however remain Kshs. 200 each for employer and employee contributions National Hospital Insurance Fund The case is scheduled for ruling on 27th February, 2015 for the Court to determine whether the NSSF rates case will be heard by Judges of the Employment and Labour Relations Court or have a bench composed of both Judges from the Employment and Labour Relations Court and the High Court.

We will keep you update.

Endoctrine Disrupting Substance sensitization meeting

February 16, 2015

Endoctrine Disrupting Substance sensitization meeting

The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) attended an endoctrine disrupting substance EDS, sensitization meeting that was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Water in conjunction with the Agricultural Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK) and Crop Life Africa on 10th February 2015 at Jacaranda Hotel Nairobi.

The Ministry of Environment and Water representatives; indicated the ministries willingness to work with private sector on public private sector partnership to ensure sustainable development; safe use and disposal plant protection products, through application of Kenyan legislation and international conventions e.g. Bassel on waste; Rottardam on pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted, and Stokhom convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Crop life Africa & Middle East representative covered the definition of endoctrine disrupting substance, EDS, by EU which is interim as of now. It is based on the hazard factor alone and is missing other elements of hazard characterization e.g. potency, severity among others. They said that that the EU has proposed to have MRL cut off point of 0.01mg/kg for products which are targeted. Flowers and ornamentals were not in the list of products that are currently being targeted. The presentation also covered the impacts on the economies in Kenya and rest of the world in case the proposals were to be implemented by EU. The chemical industry has requested EU to ensure that the criteria that it will use to implement the ban; will incorporate risk assessment method other than the hazard alone.

The participants agreed that there is a need to form an advisory team to work with ministry of environment on this matter.

Other participants included the suppliers of plant protection products from Kenya; Professor Richard Michieka from University Nairobi, KARLO, FPEAK, KFC members, among others.

 

National Produce Traceability System

February 16, 2015

National Produce Traceability System

Following the increased interceptions at the European market for non-complying horticulture produce (flowers and vegetables), and locally heightened rejections by KEPHIS, there is no better time to come up with a National Produce Traceability System than this. It is on this note that Horticultural |Crop Directorate (HCD) through funding by USAID-KAVES, and in partnership with key industry stakeholders including KFC, FPEAK, KEPHIS, PCPB, Kenya Vegetables and Fruits Exporters Association, KARLO, and others, have started the Traceability Initiative to ensure the horticulture industry reinforces its competitiveness.

The proposed technology based National Produce Traceability System is meant to provide a reference framework for linking data relating to fresh produce from production to distribution. It will answer the questions of What? Who? When? and How?

On implementation of the system, the Country can showcase the same as a valuable tool that is to facilitate market access, and convince the various market destinations of a robust traceability system that is able to identify deficiencies along the value chain and put in place effective mediation measures.

The second meeting towards this initiative was held on February 10, 2015 at the Serena Hotel, to build census on issues regarding the scope of the proposed traceability system, pilot production areas, pilot companies, industry nominees to the project steering committee, and industry nominees to the project technical committee. Vegetables shall be a key player in the pilot phase of the project, together with the sensitive cut-flowers including eryngium, hypericum, gypsophyla, and solidago. Pilot companies shall be drawn from big, medium and small scale growers for ownership.

In recognition that companies already have some traceability measure in place, the project shall be looking on how such will feed into the national traceability system for visibility.

The national produce traceability system will be developed based on the following key criteria:

a)  Common identification of farms, packing premises and stakeholders using a combination of Geo referencing, GS1 and HCD stakeholder codes. b) Common identification of products (crates/boxes and pallets) using a combination of a national a traceability code, exporter internal codes and GS1 codes. c)  Ability to electronically track produce movement downstream (market side). d)  Ability to electronically trace produce origin upstream (supply side). e)  Ability to electronically share critical information amongst stakeholders. f)  the system must be credible, simple, efficient, economical and transferable to other flowers, fruit and vegetable productions, while at the same time, being adaptable to other initiatives by the sector namely KEPHIS ECS and seed traceability system, PCPB, KFC Certification, KENYAGAP (FPEAK), HCD ERP, and Exporter internal traceability systems. It will integrate the needs of all the links of the horticultural supply chain. g) The labeling and packaging standards defined and adopted must be compatible to export market stipulations and carry the necessary traceability information for downstream traceability.

Some of the risks that the horticulture industry has had to deal with due to lack of a reliable traceability system include:

i.   Increase in Physical checks at EU control points. ii.  Increased interceptions. iii. Negative Market Perception on capacity to manage risks. iv. Traceability rules not fully implemented. v.  Reduction in Export volumes/sales. vi. Produce lack Origin & history information. vii. Future participation of Smallholder farmers in the export market is at risk. viii. Rapid growth of the industry has led to reduced controls.

These industry challenges therefore require urgent action to protect Kenya’s Market Share and credibility as the major exporter of fresh produce

Some of the benefits of an integrated traceability system include:

i.     To trace produce to its farm of origin based on records, about its geo-location, planting inputs and movement history. ii.      Improve regulator inspection, risk profiling and investigation capacity. iii.     Enhance speed and efficiency. iv.     Improve industry competiveness. v.      Enhance information sharing and facilitate rapid recall. vi.     Collaboration and Global Best Practices. vii.    Building Strong Partnership with Industry. viii.  Enhance market access for farmers and protect the brand reputation of Kenya and its exporters. ix.    Rapidly identify and isolate food safety incidents like Pesticide residues to minimise food safety risks.

KFC will keep you updated on this new development.

Netherlands moves Nairobi visa processing to SA

February 6, 2015February 6, 2015

Netherlands moves Nairobi visa processing to SA

As of March 1, 2015 all visa applications submitted at the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi will be sent to the Regional Service Organization (RSO) in Pretoria South Africa for further processing. From then on processing of a visa application will take at least ten (10) working days (2 weeks) after which the passport can be picked up at the embassy in Nairobi.

According to the Dutch Embassy, these changes are as a result of reorganization of the consular services within the embassy network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for efficiency reasons.

All the required supporting documents, including invitations from The Netherlands, should be originals and only complete visa applications will be accepted.

The Embassy will also introduce an online appointment system for visa applicants in the short term. The system will be open for booking of appointments as of 15 March 2015. After 1 April 2015 visa applications can only be submitted by appointment. Applicants are advised to book an appointment on a date at least four weeks before the travel date.