KEPHIS offers inspectorate services on all matters related to plant health and quality control of agricultural inputs and produce.
PLANT IMPORTATION PROCEDURES
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) is a State Corporation established in October 1996. The Corporation's activities and services involve offering inspectorate services on all matters related to plant health and quality control of agricultural inputs and produce. The activities include:
- Certification of the quality of seeds and fertilizers.
- Testing and monitoring the presence of harmful residual agro-chemicals on agricultural produce, soils and water systems.
- Coordination of the release of superior and well adapted varieties/cultivars to the farming community.
- Protecting the rights of the breeders/discoverers of new plant varieties through grant of rights to the owners of such varieties and registering them.
- Preventing introduction into the country of harmful foreign weeds, pests and diseases through adherence to strict quarantine regulations and procedures.
- Inspecting and grading agricultural produce for import and export to ensure that they are of high and acceptable quality.
- Implementing the national policy on the introduction and use of genetically modified plant species, insects and micro-organisms in Kenya.
PROCEDURES FOR PLANT IMPORTATION/EXPORTATION
Kenya has set forth regulations/procedures for importation/exportation of any form of plant material, such as seeds, cuttings, budwood, fresh fruits, flowers, plantlets, timber, and agricultural produce. These regulations are enforced through the Plant Protection Act (Cap 324), The Suppression of Noxious Weeds Act (Cap 325) and The Agricultural Produce (Export) Act (Cap 319). These regulations are aimed at protecting Kenya's agriculture from foreign pests (insects, pathogens) as agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The following aspects are underlined in the Plant Import/Export Regulations.
- ALL intending importers wishing to bring into Kenya plant materials MUST obtain a Plant Import Permit (PIP) from Kenya prior to shipment of such plants from the origin regardless of whether they are duty free, gifts or for commercial or experimental purposes. The permit specifies the requirements for plant health indicating prohibitions, restricted quarantine importation's, and additional declaration with regard to pre-shipment treatments. The original permit must, therefore, reach the plant health authorities in the country of origin for adherence to Kenya's import permit requirements. All importers of propagating/planting material must observe plant breeders rights. Protected varieties should only be imported/used with the consent of the breeders. Kenya is a member of Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
- Any plant consignment arriving in Kenya should therefore be accompanied by a copy of a permit by KEPHIS and an additional health certificate (Phytosanitary certificate, international model or its equivalent) in full adherence to the specifications set out in the permit. Diseased or insect infested plant materials irrespective of value will be destroyed at the point of entry or shipped back to the country of origin at the owners cost.
- It is advised that all people entering Kenya must, therefore, declare all plant materials in their possession on arrival to a plant inspector; it is illegal to import plants into Kenya without proper authority from KEPHIS.
- Biocontrol Agents
All importation of biocontrol agents must be approved by the Kenya Standing Technical Committee on Imports and Exports (KSTCIE). The KSTCIE determines the conditions under which such importations can be made.
- Export Certification
All plant or plant products for export must meet the current phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. This includes:
- Ascertaining the relevant phytosanitary requirements of the importing country (including import permits if required).
- Verifying through inspection that the consignment conforms to those requirements.
- Issuing of a phytosanitary certificate. Those involved in export of plant and plant products must therefore seek information on phytosanitary requirements from the importing country.
- All seed for export (and only by registered seed merchants) must meet the gazetted minimum standards and be accompanied by the relevant certificates.
- Genetically Modified Plants and Plant Products
Importation of genetically modified plants or plant products requires authorization by the National Biosafety Committee before an import permit is issued. The conditions for the import are stipulated by the National Biosafety Committee. Kenya is a signatory to the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety.
- Endangered Species
Trade in or movement of endangered species is prohibited unless under CITES Certificate issued by Kenya Wildlife Services.
- Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with the Plant Protection Act (Cap 324), the Suppression of Noxious Weeds Act (Cap 325) and The Agricultural Produce (Export) Act (Cap 319) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both. In addition, all plants and plant products found not to comply with the regulations will be destroyed at the owner's cost.
The Plant Import Regulations are kept under constant review and are revised or amended according to the latest international scientific information available on all aspects of pests and pathogens, for example, their distribution, spread, means of detection and host plants. Please note that import conditions vary with plant/plant products and source.
A special plea is therefore made to all Kenyan citizens, and all visitors to Kenya to ensure that they are fully acquainted with the regulations before importing/exporting plant material