Kenya and the Netherlands strengthen trade relationship with launch of Agricultural Working Group
On the 8th of July 2019 the Dutch Vice Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Ms. Marjolijn Sonnema, and the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Mwangi Kiunjuri launched the first bilateral Agricultural Working Group. This is a new landmark in the long-standing bilateral cooperation in sustainable agriculture, which dates back more than five decades. The Agriculture Working Group will meet annually, aiming at concrete, innovative and mutually beneficial solutions that will contribute to a strong agri-business climate.
Agricultural Working Group
Kenya and the Netherlands have a long history of successful cooperation in agriculture. Key areas of cooperation are in the horticulture, potato, aquaculture and dairy sectors. Dutch expertise and technologies are shared throughout entire value chains. Both Kenya and the Netherlands heavily depend on agriculture and international trade for economic growth. Their respective policies also reflect this: agriculture and food security play a central role in the Big Four agenda of President Uhuru Kenyatta as well as the Netherlands’ innovative circular economy policy. In light of their long-lasting cooperation and shared ambitions, the Netherlands therefore proposed to formalize the bilateral relationship in agriculture in so-called Agricultural Working Groups (AWG).
In a bilateral meeting between Cabinet Secretary Mr. Mwangi Kiunjuri of Agriculture and Dutch Vice Minister Ms. Marjolijn Sonnema, held on 8 July 2019, both sides expressed strong willingness to further strengthen trade relations. One of the first activities under the AWG will be an agricultural trade mission to Kenya, with a focus on post-harvest and food loss as well as agro-food processing. Cabinet Secretary Mr. Kiunjuri and Vice Minister Ms. Sonnema officially inaugurated the Kenya-Netherlands Agricultural Working Group by signing the AWG Terms of Reference.
The Chief Administrative Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Tuimur and Vice Minister Sonnema co-chaired the first official session of the Agriculture Working Group. Discussions centred on plant health (phytosanitary), veterinary cooperation and electronic certification. Experts from both countries discussed possibilities to improve the ease of doing business, including export and import regulations for pork products, unnecessary use of pesticides and electronic certification to streamline import and export processes. Both countries agreed to explore the setting up of a Netherlands-Kenya Business Climate Committee and agreed to organize the second Agricultural Working Group meeting in the Netherlands next year.
“The Agricultural Working Group marks an important milestone for Dutch- Kenyan collaboration in the agricultural sector that will only be strengthened from hereon. We are here to find concrete, innovative and mutually beneficial solutions that will contribute to a strong business climate for agribusinesses”. - Vice Minister Sonnema
Meetings with the private sector
Given the importance the Netherlands attaches to cooperation with Kenya, Vice Minister Marjolijn Sonnema and a delegation visited Kenya on 8 and 9 July 2019. With her delegation, she visited and met with companies who are investing in circular and sustainable agriculture to discuss future cooperation strategies between Kenya and the Netherlands.
Not only were important developments discussed within the different priority sectors (potatoes, horticulture, agrifood, aquaculture and dairy), but stakeholders discussed together with the delegation how we can jointly shape a major transition towards a circular food production system, which is supported by society, the chief ambition of Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Ms. Carola Schouten. Read the full vision of the Minister here.
The delegation got a clear impression of how companies work together with Kenyan counterparts to find sustainable solutions that fit the Kenyan context. FoodTechAfrica for example demonstrated how they work on a fully integrated aquaculture value chain. On the demonstration farm they produce tilapia sustainably by using a tailor-made version of Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) fitting East-African conditions. At Insectipro insights were shared about the opportunities that exist for companies tackling the food waste problem.
During the visit the delegation also took part in a roundtable discussion with several stakeholders of the floriculture value chain. Stakeholders shared insights on important developments that affect future cooperation between Kenya and the Netherlands in this sector.
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