Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Drowning in red tape

From a report on, a tale of woe emerges that will be all too familiar to British businesses. It appears that small horticultural producers in Kenya are being drowned in red tape and are simply unable to cope.

Their problem is that, in order to continue exporting to EU member states – their main outlet - they must conform with new rules on quality audits, which include the traceability amendment 178/2005.

All exports into the EU have to be traceable to the grower. The numerous, mandatory codes of practice being imposed on the industry are pushing production costs higher and eroding investor profits. Furthermore, the volume of paperwork to prove the audit trail is so onerous that only the larger growers have the resources (and skills) to deal with it.

Thus, of the 200 or so registered growers supplying the export market, only about six big companies are expected to survive. It is feared that the horticultural industry may revert to the control of a few hands as the regulations come into play.

This is reversing the gains that have been achieved in the past decade to involve small-scale farmers, negating much of the development aid that has been devoted to expanding the production base in the country.

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