INTERNATIONAL TRADE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR SMALL SCALE HORTICULTURAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

A. Serem
This paper gives an overview of African horticulture production systems and then focuses on the case of small scale horticulture producers and the challenges faced in trading internationally in horticulture produce. The paper lays emphasis to the fact that a coherent discourse on horticulture export marketing from Africa and challenges faced can only take place in the context of developments in the European markets considering that over 80% of horticulture exports from Africa end up in these markets. The paper traces the genesis of the modern European export requirements and attempts to explain the current stringent requirements and the institutions that have come up in order to align production protocols to new requirements in the markets. The special case of access to international markets by small scale farmers is given a deeper analysis by using the Kenyan experience and giving evidence on how small scale farmers have been co-opted into international market value chains and their contribution to national economic development and employment. Horticultural Crops Development Authority in Kenya, through partnership with other organizations like Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), Kenya Flower Council (KFC), COLEACP and the Netherlands government World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) programme has built capacity for market access for 100,000 farmers and farmer groups. These efforts have helped the growers to get certification for export. The paper gives evidence that the genesis of the current stringent market requirements is concern over food safety and traceability. Consumers all over the world are increasingly getting concerned over use of pesticides, hygiene standards and the wish to know how their food has been produced, processed and transported to the markets. Consumers have also become increasingly environmentally conscious. These issues have become challenges in the way international trade in fresh produce is conducted. International certifying organizations have come up in order to ensure conformity. Competent authorities who inspect produce have also been initiated. Supermarkets have also taken charge on behalf of consumers to ensure a steady supply of certified produce. The challenges encountered in keeping the standards by small scale farmers include constantly changing regulations, multiple audits required, difficulty in enforcing uniform spraying regimes and quality. The paper concludes by pointing out that small scale producers have greater opportunities to access international markets if they can lend themselves for integration into existing value chains, operating in groups, engaging recognized certification bodies and investing in new production technologies. The paper focuses attention mainly in Kenyan production and marketing systems because Kenya is a classic example among African countries where small scale producers have been significantly integrated into the international markets. The paper also explains the main limitations experienced by small scale horticulture producers and how these challenges have been overcome. The paper finally concludes by proposing intervention measures by development agencies and governments to promote export oriented horticulture production.
Serem, A. (2011). INTERNATIONAL TRADE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR SMALL SCALE HORTICULTURAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS . Acta Hortic. 911, 53-60
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.911.6
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.911.6
English

Acta Horticulturae