Want to be an agricultural produce exporter? Here is what you need to know

Kenyan avocados ready for export. Photo by Kilimo News

Many people have been asking how they can become exporters of agricultural produce. Let us briefly look at some important information one needs to have before embarking on that journey.

First, it depends on the produce that you want to export. Every product needs clearance from different government agencies before you are issued with an Export certificate (phytosanitary) from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)

For fresh produce, you need to get an export license from the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD)

To export dry grains you need an export license from the Agriculture & Food Authority (AFA)

For nuts, you need an export license from the Nuts Directorate and so on. This means that you have to research and be knowledgeable about the produce you want to export and familiarize yourself with relevant agencies that deal with it.

You need to register a company with the registrar of companies and provide a copy to KEPHIS.  You also need to provide your KRA PIN certificate and any Company’s Director’s ID copies.

After putting your documents in order, you will need to undergo training on how to use the Electronic Certification System (ECS). Here, you will be taught how to use the System as you submit your consignments for inspection, verification, export at exit points, for example at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

There is also training on market requirements. Different markets have different requirements, for example, the European Market (EU) has it’s own requirements. The UAE or S. Africa or S. Korea markets each have their own requirements which have to be met.

As an exporter, there are terms that are often used and you have to familiarize yourself with them and their meaning. Examples of these terms are Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), farm audits, interception(s), documentation, regulator, traceability etc. These and other terms are extremely important to plant exporters as they dominate the business of plant exports.

Finally, as an exporter, where will you source your produce from? Is it clean physically and in terms of diseases? Also, remember that you must be in contact with the client at your destination market. You need to source for the clients to who you will be selling your produce to in your target market.  


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