Retailers’ umbrella body, the Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) has rolled out a campaign to sensitize traders on the KS1758 standard mark of quality for horticultural products sold locally.
The pilot phase of the campaign is currently targeting Nairobi, Mombasa and Machakos counties, and seeks to promote public private partnerships in the implementation of the standard.
“It is for this reason that we are implementing the rollout and adoption of KS 1758 part II by the domestic horticulture value chain actors. It is anticipated that the adoption of KS1758 will enhance food safety, food quality and also facilitate sustainable market access through the retail outlets,” said Wambui Mbarire, RETRAK CEO.
Speaking at a workshop for representatives of various supermarkets based in Mombasa, Ms Mbarire lamented that despite huge revenues generated by horticulture value chain, there were still challenges in ensuring quality of food traded in formal and informal domestic markets.
She added that the full implementation of the quality standard mark is set to help promote good agricultural practices, social welfare and conservation of the environment, promote compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and protect consumers.
RETRAK is implementing the initiative in collaboration with the Standards Implementation Committee (SIC) and the Rockefeller Foundation. This will ensure that a legal and regulatory framework is in place, build capacity among market actors and laboratories to achieve and monitor compliance with standards, and provide information to consumers through certification and early warning systems.
The process is anchored on the provisions of the National Food Safety Policy of 2013 which proposes policy interventions to improve food safety in the country. These include the standard KS 1758-2:2016 that is a Code of Practice/Standard that aims at providing rules for safe and sustainable production and supply of fruits and vegetables in Kenya for both export and domestic markets. Actually, it applies to all players or operators involved in the primary production, processing, transportation and marketing of fruits and vegetables in Kenya.
“If well applied KS1758 could also potentially provide a steppingstone for SMEs wishing to take the pathway to private standards certification for export,” said Mbarire.