UK-Kenya deal secures tariff-free fresh produce trade

After months of negotiations, Kenya and the United Kingdom have concluded a Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will strengthen the relationship between UK importers and Kenyan exporters, while providing Kenyan farmers with the opportunity to expand their presence in the UK  post end of the transition period. 

Perishable Movements Limited (PML) will continue to provide logistics support to Kenyan exporters and UK importers and have recently, expanded their operation to include freighter from Kenya in anticipation of the increased demand for temperature-controlled transportation from the region. 

Kenya has the largest economy in East Africa and is among the top 10 economies across the continent. It is a major supplier of cut flowers, tea, coffee, fruits like avocados, mangoes and passionfruit as well as vegetables including sugar snaps, herbs and snow peas to the UK. 

Many of these exported goods have a shelf life that averages 21 days and under, so ensuring that trading between the countries runs smoothly and without delay is of key importance to PML.

The most imported goods to the UK from Kenya in 2019 were in coffee, tea and spices (£121 million), vegetables (£79 million) live trees and plants and flowers (£54 million). The UK market accounts for 43% of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9% of cut flowers; this agreement will support Kenyans working in these sectors by maintaining tariff-free market access to the UK. It also guarantees continued market access for UK exporters, who together sold £815m in goods and services to Kenya last year.

The trade deal means there will be less red-tape for exporters and no increase in price to consumers. The partnership also offers new opportunities for businesses to expand into Europe from the UK post-BREXIT. The trade deal means that PML will continue to be able to handle customs clearance, the tracking of goods and the handling of products through its temperature-controlled bonded warehouse without hindrance after 31st December. 

Nick Finbow, Sales Director, Perishable Movements Limited; “We believe this deal will greatly enhance the trade partnership between Kenya and the UK. It will allow Kenyan fresh produce to continue to flow unhindered by duties into the UK, and allow the UK public to continue to purchase and enjoy quality products without increased charges to the UK consumer.”

UK International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena;  “I look forward to forging further trade ties with Kenya – the largest economy in the region – and working with other East African countries to agree trade continuity, harnessing free and fair trade to secure shared prosperity for our peoples.”

The Kenya-UK EPA will deliver a comprehensive package of benefits, including secure, long-term and predictable market access for East African Community exports and enhanced privileges for agricultural goods, even if they pass through the 27 EU countries. Other members of the EAC trade block will be able to join the agreement when they are ready.

This is the sixth bilateral trade deal between the UK and Kenya a trade deal already worth £1.4billion a year. The UK is, by far, the largest foreign investor in Kenya. The value of British investment in Kenya was estimated at £2.7 billion in 2017 with over 220 UK firms setting up businesses in the country.

*Trade statistics taken from ONS UK total trade: all countries non-seasonally adjusted January to March 2020.

Supporting Agricultural Innovation In Colombia

Innovate UK, through the Colombian Prosperity Fund Programme, is to invest up to £3 million in collaborative business projects that address agricultural challenges in regions affected by conflict in Colombia.

A focus on female farmers
The aim of this competition is to help farmers in Colombia, particularly female smallholders, to improve their farming methods and adopt innovations faster.

It should help the country meet its international development objectives in agriculture. This includes to:

  • improve the health and welfare of farmers, particularly women
  • create more sustainable intensification
  • promote diversity in diet and nutrition
  • improve rural income and food security
  • make it easier to trade agricultural products
  • UK businesses can apply with early or late-stage innovation projects that support the uptake of new technologies and innovations. These should have the potential to advance sustainable intensification in Colombia and deliver economic impact across the agri-tech industry.

Projects may take ideas from any sector or discipline. They will need to meet the Official Development Assistance criteria and the International Development (Gender Equality) Act.

Competition Information

  • the competition opens on 26 March 2018, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 18 July 2018
  • you can work in collaboration with other businesses, academic organisations, charities, public sector organisations and research organisations. You must work with a Colombian partner
  • you must carry out your project work in the UK, Colombia or both
  • we expect early-stage awards to have costs between £150,000 and £500,000 and last up to 18 months. Late-stage awards can have costs between £200,000 and £800,000 and last up to 18 months
  • businesses can attract up to 70% of their project costs
  • there will be briefing and brokerage events on 5 April 2018
  • Find out more about this competition and apply.

New Seafish Chair Announced For UK Seafood Industry

A new Chair has been appointed to the organisation that promotes the work of the UK’s seafood industry.

Brian Young will now officially take the position at the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) with a three-year appointment. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role as he has been acting Chair of Seafish since January 2016, stepping up from his deputy Chair position. He was also previously Chair of Seafish’s Importers and Processors Panel.

Seafish is an industry-levy funded body which carries out a wide range of activities that advocate and support all sections of the fishing industry, from fishermen and processors through to importers, retailers and food service providers.

This is a Ministerial appointment supported by the four fisheries administrations, who jointly sponsor Seafish.

Brian Young, Chair of the Seafish, said:

I am delighted to be appointed Chair of Seafish at such a pivotal time for our industry. The next three years will provide many new opportunities and challenges and Seafish will work hard to help and support our industry to be profitable, sustainable and socially responsible.

It is a great privilege to be able to carry on working with the Seafish Board, the executive team, the Devolved Administrations and the incredibly diverse range of people who serve our industry with such great passion, commitment and expertise.

I am very much looking forward to the challenge.

The recruitment was carried out in accordance with the Ministerial Code of Practice for Appointments to Public Bodies. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, there is a requirement for the political activities of appointees to be made public. Brian Young has not declared any significant activity.

Biographical details:

Brian was Chief Executive of the British Frozen Food Federation until his retirement in March 2017. His career has spanned 35 years in the food business sector, including roles at RHM Foods, Sara Lee, Tryton Foods and Sundora Foods.

Brian is a qualified chartered management accountant. He is currently Chair of the Beverley Building Society and a non-executive director of Ripon Select Foods Limited. He is also a trustee of Thera Trust, a charity that has been supporting people with a learning disability since 1998.

Successful Workshop On Allergen Detection In Spices

A joint Defra, FSA, FSS and Government Chemist workshop was held at LGC on 28 February 2018. The event focused on the detection of allergens in spices and herbs using a multi-discipline approach. The workshop was attended by over 20 delegates from Public Analyst laboratories, industry and regulating bodies.

The event was organised by the Government Chemist team as part of a cross government (BEIS, FSA, FSS and Defra) knowledge transfer project that will deliver knowledge from government programmes to stakeholders to help enforce current regulations and prevent future disputes. By pooling funds from each of the four government departments, knowledge transfer events can be planned and coordinated according to priorities received directly from the stakeholder community delivering greater impact.

The workshop was opened with a talk by Dr Chun-Han Chan from the FSA’s Allergen team and followed by Greg Corbishley from Barts Spices, who gave the industry perspective into the challenges posed for manufactures by cross contamination. There were also three sessions covering the complementary techniques developed in response to the cumin and paprika cases in 2015. Malvinder Singh (LGC) talked about the immunoassay tests which initially detected allergenic contamination (initially believed to be almond) in cumin and the subsequent preparation of reference materials needed for further investigation. Chistopher Hopley (LGC) gave an overview of mass spectrometry and expanded on methods developed for the detection of close species. Timothy Wilkes (LGC) talked about the real-time PCR and melting curve approaches used for these cases. These sessions provided practical information required to enable participants to carry out or commission similar analytical tests . Michael Walker, from the GC team, provided a final overview on result interpretation and reporting on allergen cases.