Flower industry panics over shortage of essential fertilizers

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Clement Tulezi ,CEO Kenya Flower Council

We are doing everything possible to support our members in unlocking the situation as soon as possible to avert total collapse of the industry – KFC CEO Clement Tulezi 

By BOB KOIGI

The Kenya Flower Council has sent out an alert over a looming crisis in the sector occasioned by shortage of essential fertilizers.

In a statement sent out to members and seen by HortiNews, the Flower Council explains the paucity as coming from the  Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) move to  implement  new stringent and lengthy regulations on local inspection of all fertilizers, leading to complications and delays.

“Contrary to earlier arrangements where KEBS appointed inspectors certified the quality of fertilizers in the country of origin prior to shipment, KEBS now re-inspects all consignments at the port of entry (Mombasa). Consequently, this has led to delayed clearance and release of consignments, sometimes up to 2 months, that has caused acute shortage, leading to inaccessibility to growers, and thus affecting production”, Council CEO Clement Tulezi says in a terse communiqué to members.

Additionally, the growers are experiencing high prices on fertilizers due to storage charges passed on to them, thus significantly increasing the cost of production, making our products uncompetitive in international markets, the statement adds.

The council is now urging the regulator to speed up the process that threatens the industry. “As much as KFC appreciate the controls KEBS is putting in place to ensure quality and conformity to standards, the process should be quick and facilitative to the industry”, said Mr Tulezi.

He adds that KFC has been engaging with major importers in the last few weeks,  and  have written to the Cabinet Secretary and Principle Secretaries for Trade and  Agriculture in addition to numerous talks with Acting Managing Director and senior managers at KEBS.

 Continues the communiqué, “KFC two weeks ago organized a meeting involving importers, growers and horticulture associations, with Managing Director KEBS. We agreed on short-term remedies, including immediate release of those that passed the test, so as to keep fertilizer flowing to growers. The long-term actions were around access based on marginal errors, retesting, second opinion from Crop Nutrition and rejection if indeed there is proved total failure. Nonetheless, we have seen little movement on the matter, with no firm commitment from KEBS on the next steps”.

An obviously frustrated KFC boss sums, “We are doing everything possible to support our members in unlocking the situation as soon as possible to avert total collapse of the industry”.

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