KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi - Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States - European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly toured the KEPHIS state of the art laboratory complex during their 15th regional meeting of the East African Region hosted by the Parliament of Kenya.

Present during the visit were representatives of the Kenya Parliament, elected parliamentary representatives of the ACP-EU parliamentary assembly, the EU Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Kenya Mr. Herbert Perr, among others. The parliamentarians were shown the workings of the facility by the KEPHIS General Manager, Phytosanitary Services Dr. Isaac Macharia and KEPHIS staff.
Speaking during the familiarization tour, Dr. Macharia explained that as Kenya’s National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), KEPHIS regulates the agricultural sector by ensuring that plant materials meet the required quality standards for trade internationally and the presence of the laboratory complex is a major milestone in the achievement of this goal.
“As an NPPO and through this laboratory, we are now able to conduct diagnostic tests for plant pests and diseases including mycological, bacterial, viral analysis and clean up, nematological and entomological tests,” he said.

KEPHIS laboratory analysts Robert Koigi and Timothy Osoro(in white lab coats) taking the ACP-EU delegates through various analytical chemistry laboratory procedures

The Parliamentarians tour was part of a four day meeting in Nairobi that was geared towards improving the Kenyan agricultural sector intervention for quality inputs, produce and food security. The delegates toured the analytical chemistry laboratory procedures involved in analyses of pesticide residues, agricultural inputs and heavy metal contaminants. The delegates also toured the plant health laboratory where molecular, bacteriology and virology processes take place.

The visit comes following the construction of the laboratory complex under the EU Horticultural Produce Phytosanitary Certification and Quality Assurance Project (HORTICAP), whose objective was to enable KEPHIS achieve better service delivery in phytosanitary inspections and certifications, improve the quality of farm inputs and produce, better services in other analyses and certification processes, increased stakeholder awareness on market quality regulations, improved food safety, better monitoring and pest surveillance services as well as strengthening stakeholder collaborative linkages.

Kenya’s Kajiado South MP Hon. Katoo ole Metito (left) and KEPHIS General Manager Phytosanitary Services Dr. Isaac Macharia addressing the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly during the site visit to the KEPHIS Laboratory Complex.

The facility provides more space to contribute in the increasing demand for credible and reliable services that assure continued market access and provides technical competence in creating an enabling environment to facilitate science-based decision making. It has also expanded the scope of KEPHIS services with improved service turn-around time bench marked to internationally reputed laboratory systems.

“This lab is a regional reference laboratory for Africa established to increase the country’s testing capacity both for domestic and exported produce; increase capacity to provide assurance for global markets of the quality of produce enhancing the potential of Kenya to maintain traditional markets and provide possibilities of new markets,” said Mr. Herbert Perr, the Head of Cooperation at the EU delegation to Kenya.

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