Pesticides: Parliament petitioned to overturn advice on EU policy
FOOD: Agriculture stakeholders have lodged a petition with parliament seeking to review and overturn a recommendation from the health committee that they claim will be catastrophic for the country.
Under pressure from environmental lobbyists and following a petition from the organic farming group Route to Food, the Parliamentary health committee has recommended to parliament to ban all agricultural inputs in Kenya that are banned in Europe.
However, industry associations led by Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, National Potato Council of Kenya, and Cereal Growers Association argue the committee did not review the European Union (EU) policies that have led to the bans.
They said the committee took it on the word of NGO witnesses that these were food safety issues, and failing to ascertain that the policies that have led to the bans in Europe have been disputed by the rest of the world, including Kenya, as unscientific trade barriers.
“The bans are purely scientific trade barriers. There is a need for Parliament to overturn the committee decision failure to which it will shatter local farming,” said Ojepat Okisegere, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, Kenya.
Kenya is one of 45 countries that have contested the EU’s input policies and bans through the WTO seven-year dispute,- STC 382, in which the EU has been asked to provide scientific grounds for the bans but apparently is yet to respond.
Speaking during a press conference at a Nairobi hotel, the agriculture sector lobbyists claimed the EU-issued farm input bans have been rejected by the US.
“The policies also fly in the face of the world food safety system run jointly by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation,” the associations said in a statement.
Okisegere said it speaks to a constitutional oversight that the health committee can recommend the most serious agricultural policy change in a generation and never even seek the input of the agricultural committee or any agricultural policy makers.
“They also appear to be completely unaware, too, of our own nation’s foreign policy and trade position on the same matter,” he claimed.