On 25 of March 2010, an event will be held at the Tin Tin Restaurant (Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi), to mark the launch of the second phase of the PIP. The workshop will be an opportunity for PIP to meet with representatives from the Kenyan fruit and vegetable sector. How can the new challenges faced by exporters on the European market be dealt with (Food safety, ethical trade, fair trade, the environment, etc.)? What are the new fields of action covered by PIP Phase 2? Who can benefit from it, and how? These are just some of the questions that will be answered during the workshop.
PIP is a cooperation programme financed by the European Commission and working to support the horticultural sector. It was implemented at the request of the African – Caribbean – Pacific (ACP) Group of States and is managed by COLEACP, an inter-professional association that represents and defends the collective interests of ACP producers/exporters and EU importers of fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants.
The first phase of PIP ran from 2001 to 2009 at a time when food safety regulations in the EU were overhauled. The EU is a key outlet for Kenyan horticultural exports and suppliers needed to make big changes if they were to keep their foothold in the market. PIP was set up to help producers and exporters make the necessary adaptations such as installing traceability and food hygiene systems, and staff training. Assistance was also given to local service providers to create a competent and recognised ACP expertise in food safety. In addition, PIP particularly focused on supporting the smaller players, such as smallholder growers, who were facing greatest difficulties.
By 2009, PIP covered 80% of produce exported from the ACP to EU countries by providing support to the sector in 28 ACP countries – including 85 companies and support structures in Kenya – and locally trained specialists had largely (>80%) replaced EU expertise in the delivery of PIP technical assistance to producers and exporters.
The first phase of PIP was recognised to be a real technical success story. Nevertheless, by the end of the programme, the horticultural industry was facing new challenges. There are new official regulations, but on top of this suppliers must meet ever increasing demands from their EU buyers. Besides, EU consumers and retailers are increasingly interested in schemes that demonstrate fair and ethical trade as well as respect for the environment.
Producers and exporters in Kenya again must adapt if they are to keep up with these new demands. Furthermore, there are also important opportunities to build on advances made in the ACP export sector by disseminating knowledge and skills on aspects such as Good Agricultural Practice and food safety, so that they also benefit production for local and regional markets. In recognition of this, and to help ACP countries maintain access to EU markets, PIP has been granted a second phase that will run from 2009-2014.
At the launch event on 25 of March at the Tin Tin Restaurant (Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi), the PIP team will host a meeting for invited guests that include partners and potential programme beneficiaries – notably horticultural producers and exporters as well as local service providers. Presentations will be given outlining the scope of PIP activities, and participants will learn how to access support as well as having the opportunity to ask questions and meet the PIP team.
Brussels, March 18th 2010
Press contact: PIPKenya@coleacp.org and firstname.lastname@example.org