The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has taken the initiative to mark the International Year of Plant Health (2022/2023) with the 4th Phytosanitary Conference, held from September 18th to 21st, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference, organized in collaboration with COPE, aims to address critical issues related to plant health and trade facilitation under the theme, “Enhancing Phytosanitary Systems for Trade Facilitation, Climate Smart Agriculture, and Sustainable Livelihoods.”
As part of the celebrations for the International Year of Plant Health, the government of Kenya has reaffirmed its commitment to achieving 100% food and nutrition security for all Kenyan citizens. Principal Secretary Kello Harsama, emphasized the government’s responsibility in ensuring the provision of safe food.
Joseph M’eruaki M’uthari, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, highlighted the increasing international movement of plants and plant products and the need for enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary measures. KEPHIS has heavily invested in Pest Risk Analysis, border surveillance, inspection, quarantine, and diagnostic systems to support plant and plant produce import and export.
Prof. Theophilus Mutui, Managing Director of KEPHIS, stressed the importance of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Kenya’s regulations on plant protection in safeguarding plant resources from pests’ introduction and spread. He emphasized that phytosanitary measures are the foundation of their mandates as National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), enabling them to regulate the importation of plants, plant products, and other regulated articles.
The conference also featured keynote speakers such as Dr. Sandrine Loudit, Acting Coordinator of the Inter-African Phytosanitary Council of the African Union (AU-IAPSC); Dr. Andrew Edewa, Director of the Standards SPS Programme at TradeMark Africa (TMA); and Dr. Morris Akiri, Senior Regional Director at CAB International (CABI), among others.
The 4th Phytosanitary Conference represents a significant step toward promoting plant health, trade facilitation, and sustainable agriculture practices in Kenya and the broader international community, aligning with the goals of the International Year of Plant Health.