Avocado produce from Kenya might soon land in China, thanks to an initiative being spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) managing director Esther Kimani says they have already invited Chinese experts to conduct risk analysis and field visits during avocado harvesting season.
This was part of China’s recommendation before it opens up its market to Kenya.
The visit would seek to comprehend orchard management, picking, packaging and certification system of the popular fruit.
“An invitation was subsequently sent to China and, after some interactions, the visit dates were agreed to be on 25 March and 1 April this year to coincide with the main avocado export season,” Ms Kimani told Sunday Nation.
Chinese experts will be hosted at avocado farms in Kakuzi, Embu, Murang’a, Uasin Gichu, and Trans Nzoia before they are taken to the airport to see how inspection of the fruit and other crops is conducted.
Kephis, noted Ms Kimani, has received many requests for export of avocado to China since 2011. This led to an initial application for market access in April 2011 to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO).
Initially, no feedback was forthcoming. Further requests were made in 2017 and some technical information provided to aid in Pest Risk Analysis (PRA).
The Chinese NPPO completed the PRA and gave their initial feedback to Kephis in December 2017.
In the feedback, she went on, it was indicated that, out of the 104 harmful organisms affecting avocado in Kenya, 11 species which included Cryptophlebia leucotreta (false codling moth), five fruit flies species (Bactrocera cucurbitae, B. invadens, Ceratitis capitata, C. cosyra, C. rosa (fruitflies), four other insects (Ceraplastes rusci, Vinsonia stellifera, Lopholeucaspis cockerelli, Selenaspidus articulates (Scales) and Pseudocercospora purpurea (black spots/spot blotch) were of concern to China.
Ms Kimani added: “The Chinese NPPO wanted Kenya to indicate to them which risk mitigation measures were in place to ensure the intended avocado exports were free of these pests. Kephis provided the mitigation measures — which were based on a system approach — in December 2017.”
Subsequently, the Chinese NPPO evaluated the Kenyan risk mitigation proposal and concluded that the country had put forward a comprehensive prevention and control mechanism for the pests of interest at orchard level.
They also observed that post-harvest measures such as packaging, pre-export inspection and quarantine methods would be used to prevent and control the pests cited.
The feedback report also indicated that Thaumatotibia leucotreta (false codling moth) is widespread in Africa and the larvae is hidden inside the avocado, hence difficult to observe with the naked eye.
This pest is therefore difficult to remove effectively through packaging and pre-export inspections.
As a result, China proposed that Kenya considers the establishment of “a non-epidemic area or a non-pestilence production unit to prevent and control the pest”.
As for fruit flies, the report said only the Hass avocado variety had been verified to be a non-host. Consequently, China would only allow importation of the Hass variety.
The managing director said Kephis has been working with avocado exporters to ensure that the systems approach to the management of pests of interest to China is in place, prior to the proposed Chinese audit.
“If this market opens up, which is our target, it will be massive because of China’s population. Our farmers will be compelled to grow more, which will translate to more earnings,” said Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.
In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta met Chinese President Xi Jinping in China where they held bilateral talks.
It is during these talks that the President pushed for this major market, including that for Stevia, a crop used for the making of calorie free sweetener.
“We cannot even satisfy China’s demand for Stevia. We hope that they will do the same for our avocados,” noted the CS.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.