NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) has been named as the COMESA Regional Reference Laboratory for Plant Protection.
From its Muguga laboratories, KEPHIS will among other things assist in monitoring the compliance with regional plant disease and pest requirements by member countries, and oversee appropriate certification processes.
It will also process selected samples of commodities for the purpose of maintaining a databank of plant diseases and pests relevant to international trade, as well as validate and standardise diagnostic procedures on behalf of national laboratories.
The Inspectorate will also provide expert technical advice in the mediation of disputes between the importing countries, enterprises and the exporting parties, and provide credible scientific basis for the resolution of such disputes. The laboratory will further assist member states in carrying out plant health risk analysis.
Recently, KEPHIS received another boost when the European Union financed the construction of an ultra-modern laboratory at its Karen Headquarters – at a cost of Sh350 million – after it recognised KEPHIS as a competent Authority to conduct conformity checks on horticultural produce being exported to the EU.
KEPHIS is a regulatory agency for quality control of agricultural input and produce in Kenya. As a parastatal under the Agriculture Ministry, KEPHIS coordinates all matters relating to crop pests and disease control, and advises the Director of Agriculture on appropriate seeds and planting materials for import and export.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as an economic block is focused on economic integration through trade and investment. It has 19 member states, including Kenya, with an estimated population of over 389 million people.