TradeMark Africa (TMA) has formalised a comprehensive technical and financial support agreement with the National Horticulture Taskforce (NHT), signifying a commitment to strengthen and sustain investments in Kenya’s fresh produce exports.

This agreement unfolded as part of the European Union (EU)-funded Business Environment and Export Enhancing Programme (BEEEP), an initiative supporting diverse sectors and, notably, orchestrating the transition of 50 percent of Kenya’s fresh produce exports from air to sea freight by 2030.

During the signing ceremony, stakeholders also delved into the review of Kenya’s master plan concerning the modal shift of fresh produce exports from air to sea freight.

This transition not only aligns with environmental consciousness but also secures a vital economic advantage for Kenya’s fresh produce exports, especially as UK and European supermarkets endeavour to curtail their climate footprint.

A key factor underpinning this shift is the environmental impact associated with transportation modes. Airfreighting from Kenya to Europe is noted for generating significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to sea freight.

To illustrate, one kilogram of airfreighted green beans emits as much as 177 kilogrammes of sea-freighted green beans.

The NHT, in line with its targeted initiatives, aims to empower horticultural product producers by fostering the adoption of sustainable practices.

These encompass leveraging renewable energy on farms, implementing water conservation methods, and transitioning fresh produce exports from air freight to sea freight.

“We are fully in support of the NHT as we transition the avocado, mango, and vegetable value chains towards more sustainable production processes from farm to fork,” said Henriette Geiger, Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya.

Ahmed Farah, Kenya Country Director of TMA, highlighted the imperative for Kenyan producers to integrate sustainable agricultural practices.

Clement Tulezi, Chairperson, National Horticulture Taskforce (L) and Ahmed Farah, Kenya Country Director, TradeMark Africa pose for a photo after signing the partnership agreement. Image: courtesy.
Clement Tulezi, Chairperson, National Horticulture Taskforce (L) and Ahmed Farah, Kenya Country Director, TradeMark Africa pose for a photo after signing the partnership agreement. Image: courtesy.

He stressed the partnership’s significance in enabling producers to meet evolving environmental requirements and contribute to achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

Clement Tulezi, Chairperson of the National Horticulture Taskforce, expressed gratitude for the European Union’s support through TradeMark Africa.

Mr Tulezi underscored the importance of engagements like the current agreement in identifying relevant interventions and meeting the programme’s objectives.

Earlier in the year, the European Union solidified its commitment by signing a substantial 25 million euros (Ksh4.2 billion) agreement with TMA in support of the BEEEP.

This programme, designed as a unique export-oriented value chain ecosystem, aims to address challenges in the mango, avocado, and vegetable value chains, enhancing competitiveness and facilitating access to identified export markets.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org