Kenya and the Netherlands continue to strengthen trade relationship under the Agricultural Working Group

Through the Agricultural Work Group partnership between the Netherlands and Kenya, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Nairobi was able to share knowledge, expertise and technologies. The highlights were a number of activities, including the launch of the Potato signal guidebook, a training on diagnostic bacteriology in the Netherlands for Kenyan experts, a seminar on  poultry health and launch of the poultry signals hand book  Poultry Health for Sustainable Production and last but not least strides were made on electronic certification where Kenya and the Netherlands marked a milestone with the launch of Ephyto .

Head of delegation, Marcel van Raaij and Harry Kimtai

Achievements despite global lockdowns

After the formation of the Agriculture Working Group in 2019, who would have known what 2020 would bring? Despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19, both Kenya and the Netherlands displayed a flexibility in the way of working to honor the commitment that was made in 2019. Through virtual meetings there was a continuation of the cooperation, resulting in the above- mentioned activities which were be realized in 2021 and 2022.

Agriculture Working Group Meeting in the Netherlands

All this momentum led to the in-person meeting that was marked in April 2023 in the Netherlands. The Ministries of Agriculture from both Kenya and the Netherlands were headed by the then Principal Secretary State Department of Livestock, Mr. Harry Kimtai and Director International Policy Marcel van Raaij.

Both heads of delegation co-chaired the second official session of the Agriculture Working Group between Kenya and the Netherlands. During this meeting, highlights of the cooperation on under the electronic certification, phytosanitary and veterinary were noted.

Delegates from the Netherlands and Kenya deliberate during the Agriculture Working Group meeting
Delegates from the Netherlands and Kenya deliberate during the Agriculture Working Group meeting

The various working groups met and discussed in full the areas of mutual benefit for both countries. Topics of discussions included electronic certification, seeds, poultry health, genetics as well as pests and diseases affecting trade. Both countries committed to follow up on the agreed areas of cooperation with Kenya expected to host the next meeting in 2024. 

Field visits with the private sector

The first stop of the visit was at  The Greenery. This is company working in the supply and distribution of fruit and vegetables to international market. Here topics of agrologistics and cool chain were highlighted. The delegation also observed inspection of products while using the Ephyto.

The next day, it was an early for the Phytosanitary working group as they found themselves at the Royal FloraHolland flower auction. It was amazing to see how flowers from Kenya were auctioned on the clock.

The veterinary team visited a family- run dairy farm Kaasboerderij Captein with over two hundred dairy cows. The farm produces cheese, and it was interesting to see the interplay between the private sector and government during this visit

The final day focused on the starting material for both animals and plants. To this end it was only appropriate to visit the breeding facilities for bovine semen at CRV Dairy Breeding Center in Wirdum. Here the topic of cow genetics took center stage, and the delegation was able to observe the processes undertaken to obtain good quality bovine semen.

For crops the importance of high quality seed could not be overemphasized. Potato being an important crop for both countries was an area of interest and a visit was made to Agrico  a cooperative involved in the production of potato seeds. Kenya and the Netherlands have cooperated for more than 10 years on this food crop to ensure high quality yielding varieties which are available to farmers – read more here: From plant to plate 10 years of cooperation

Horticulture being an important sector for both countries was another focus of the visit. Vegetable seed producers Enza Zaden was the next stop of this visit. A discussion on the quality of the seeds including a tour of the production facilities was important to understand how the seed system is organized in the Netherlands.

Other interactions made during the visit included meeting with  Invest International  and a number of companies looking into investing in Kenya.

Overall, the visit chartered the renewed commitment by both Kenya and the Netherlands in working together to ensuring sustainable agriculture trade remains a priority for both.

Heads of delegations Marcel van Raaij and Harry Kimtai

For more information about this sector or any other agricultural questions feel free to contact us via For the latest updates on activities, new articles and more follow us on X (Twitter) on @NLAgiKenya and subscribe to our newsletter by sending us an email. In case of any non-agriculture questions for the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi, see this website for contact information