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Kenya: Horticulture Exporter registration guidelines

Step-by-step guide seeks to familiarize new exporters with the basic procedures to attain registration

Information Courtesy of USAID Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises

July 17, 2018, Nairobi.  Many people contact us at HortiNews asking how they can register as an horticulture export business. Here’s a  step-by-step guide seeks to familiarize new exporters with the basic procedures to attain registration as an exporter as summarized below;-

Register a business:  also known as a company at the Registrar of Companies, Attorney General’s Office. Obtain its Personal Identification Number as well as a Value Added Tax Certificate from Kenya Revenue

HCD Export Licence :  The  three certificates enable the business to obtain the prerequisite licenses as an export company from the Horticulture Crops Directorate (HCD).

After the Statutory requirements, an exporter is expected to demonstrate familiarity with Kenya Standard for horticulture export the KS 1758 parts 1 and 11, client contract and certified production sites. The cites can either be company farms or contracted out growers.

Farm inspection for all produce sources will be done by Horticulture Crops Directorate (HCD) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for quality and pests/ diseases respectfully.

Kephis Registration:  To export produce you must obtain registration as an exporter of agriculturalproduce at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

When produce is ready for shipment, identify a shipping agent.


Business Registration

1 Submit the business name to the Registrar of Companies, Attorney General’s Office.

2 After the name has been accepted, apply for registration and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation or a Certificate of Registration (

3 Obtain a PIN number from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) (


4 Obtain a VAT Certificate from Kenya Revenue Authority;

5 Obtain an Export /Import Code Number from the Customs and Excise Department on the submission of copies of above);

6 Obtain a Local (County Government) Business Permit

7 Every Consignment must have a Certificate of Origin (at the time of exporting).

Obtain prerequisite licenses as an Export Company

These licenses are issued by the Horticulture Crops Directorate (HCD)

The following documents are required:-

1 Certified copy of Certificate of Business Registration from the Registrar of Companies or Commissioner of Oaths;

2 Certified copies of Memorandum and Articles of Association for Limited Companies;

3 Copies of National Identity Cards (ID) of all the company directors.

4 photocopy or passport and valid work permit if a director or directors are foreigners;

5 Copy of K.R.A. PIN;

6 Certified Tax Compliance Certificate;

7 Documentary evidence from overseas clients, e.g. letter, fax or e-mail that you are ready to start an export business;

8 Knowledge of the requirements from overseas market KS1758 Standard (Part1:

Floriculture and Part 2: Fruits and vegetables);

9 Copy of County Government business permit or unified permit;

10 Typed application forms 1A and 1B available from the website;

11 Recommendation from a relevant horticulture association.



1 Farm inspection for all produce source will be done;

2 Register on the national Horticulture Traceability System (HTS) (http://hts.;or download HTS mobile application on Google Play Store;

Pack house inspection for packing facility. The export produce must be sorted at an audited packaging facility. Where an exporter doesn’t have a facility they should show a contract with a certified pack house.

3 Produce Source (PS) I or II form (farm/farmer details) and a soft copy forwarded to in Microsoft Excel format;

4 Produce contracts for contracted sources (guidelines found online) – between the farmer and buyer witnessed by HCD;

5 Inspection of transport facility; Produce is carried in refrigerated or insulated transport

6 Demonstrate traceability system (from farm to pack house);

7 Declaration of clearing and forwarding Agents;

8 Registration fee KES 5,000/= per year, paid when you obtain the certificate

9 Cess deposit fee KES 5,000/= for new applicants;

Note: All documents to be put in order as per the Vetting Checklist, which is available online.


  1. Apply to the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) in writing (www. Introduce your company and the major produce you want to export. The application should be accompanied by:
  • Horticulture Crops Directorate Export license(refer to procedure one);
  • Company registration certificate;
  • KRA PIN certificate and copies of the identification documents of the directors;
  • Signed contract with out-growers (if you have any);
  • Signed agreement when sourcing from authorized exporters;
  • Details of the physical location of the farm or farms, crops under production,acreage and market destination.
  1. Upon receipt of the applications, KEPHIS shall conduct system audits within ten working days. For growers and consolidators of perishable agricultural products the audit will entail:-
  2. Demonstration of understanding and documentary evidence of marketrequirements by the auditee;
  3. Audit of documented policies and procedures for:-
  • Farmer recruitment,
  • Calibrations of spray equipment and sprayers,
  • Traceability,
  • Internal audits/addressing nonconformities,
  • Pest management,
  • Safety and hygiene of produce,
  • Hygiene of produce handlers,
  • Waste disposal.

iii. Verification of the practice of the documented policies and procedures which will cover contracted farmers, own farms, and suppliers. Areas of verification include:-

  1. Schedules for planting, weeding, fertilizer/soil amendments applications and actual data obtained, scouting and actual data obtained, spray calibrations and actual data obtained, actual spray operations, harvesting, cleaning of crates, PPEs &equipment;
  2. Pest management systems;
  3. Approved lists of PPPs;
  4. Quality control management systems;
  5. Competence of technical assistants (TA’s) on the ground, with a minimum of tertiary in Agriculture/ Horticulture or any other related field;
  6. Trained sprayers;
  7. Calibrated spray equipment;
  8. Storage facilities such as:-
  • PPPs stores for farmers/farmer groups/suppliers and relevant records kept,
  • PPE and or equipment stores and relevant records kept,
  • Fertilizer and or seed stores and relevant records kept.
  1. Waste disposal mechanisms that guarantee food, environmental and human safety;
  2. Compliance of produce handling and packing facilities.
  3. For dealers in fresh fruits and vegetables, a sample of the produce should be submitted for pesticide residue laboratory analysis at the KEPHIS Laboratory (ACL) after a successful field audit.

For dealers in export of dried/processed agricultural products, the audit (facility inspection) shall entail:-

  1. Demonstration of understanding and documentary evidence of market requirements by the auditee;
  2. Audit of documented policies and procedures and practice for:-
  • Quality control management,
  • Good handling practices,
  • Sanitation and general housekeeping,
  • Worker health and hygiene,
  • Pest control programme.
  1. Electronic Certification System (ECS) training is then carried out for allcompanies;
  2. Upon successful system audit and ECS training,the company shall be notified in writing and registered into the ECS.This will be done as follows:-
  • You will visit the KEPHISwebsite,
  • Click on online services and chose the option of Electronic Certification System(ECS),
  • Click on Electronic Certification System at the end of the page,
  • Apply for client registration,
  • You shall then wait to be given a password for the system to be able to log in as a client.

Note: The audits to be conducted as arranged by the exporter and competent authority officers (phytosanitary and food safety team).

Annex 5 Shipping Requirements

Identify a shipping agent. Prepare copies of all necessary documents and forward it to them. These documents include: packing list, special licenses and commercial invoice.

The shipping agent will in turn book space on shipping vessel and prepare custom declaration. Finally release your goods to the shipping agent for shipping, however, they must first be inspected by relevant authorities ( KEPHIS, KRA and HCDA) before being cleared for export.

Useful Organizitions Contacts

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA)

Tea House; Naivasha Road, off Ngong Road

P.O Box 37962 – 00100, Nairobi

Cell Phone: +254-722200556/734600944

Wireless: +254 – 020 – 2536869/2536886



Export Promotion Council (EPC)

1st and 16th Floor Anniversary Towers, University Way

P.O. Box 40247 00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel. +254 20 222 8534-8

Cellphone: +254 722 205 875 or 734 228 534

Fax: +254 20 222 8539 or 221 8013

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)

Oloolua Ridge, Karen

P.O. Box 49592-00100 Nairobi.

Tel: 020 661 8000

Cell: 0709 891 000

Email: /


Pest Control Products Board (PCPB)


P.O. Box 13794 – 00800

Nairobi, Kenya

E-mail: /

Phone Numbers: +254-020-8021 846/7/8 or +254-020-8021865


Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC)

Mobile: +254 731588531



Kenya Flower Council (KFC)

Suite 12, 4th Floor, The Greenhouse Building, Adams Arcade, along Ngong Road

Tel. No: +254 20 2439523

Mobile: +254 733 639 523



Fresh Produce Exporter Association of Kenya

New Rehema House, 4th Floor, Rhapta Road, Westlands

+254 20 205160333 or 020 4451489




  • Registration of crop protections products
  • Support compliance to EU requirements
  • Providing training to sprayer


  • Co-ordination andharmonising export development and promotion activities in the country
  • Addressing bottlenecks facing exporters and producersof export goods and services to increase sector performance


  • Membership Association
  • Providing technical and marketing information and training
  • Information centre and run active lobbying to enhance the sector’s competitiveness


  • Inspections and certifications
  • Set standards of export horticulture
  • ECS Registration
  • Farm audits
  • Laboratory tests
  • Phytosantary certificate


  • Export licence
  • Capacity building
  • Market
  • One can use HCD packhouse
  • Inspections and certification

For further information contact:


Tel: 0722 848970

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