The Seychelles National Biosecurity Agency (NBA) has approved the importation of 21 fresh produce commodities from Kenya.
NBA CEO Marc Naiken said following the signing of a preliminary trade agreement with Kenya in January, the agency has tested and analysed 21 Kenyan crops including cabbages, mangosteen, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumber and watermelons.
The analysis was done in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations. Naiken said apart from the need for clean produce, the decision to import such a wide range of fresh produce from Kenya was based on several other considerations, including geographical proximity and regulatory issues.
“We need to conduct pest and contamination risk analysis on all imported and exported goods. But each country has its own kind of risks. Therefore, it will be easier to do risk management when dealing with just one country,” he said.
The Seychelles’ agricultural imports have surged in recent years as local production declined due to a crippling shortage of arable land, rolling topography, the lack of trained agricultural experts, and a shortage of farm labour. The Kenyan imports are expected to stabilise local fresh produce prices.
“Although some commodities like tomatoes are being produced locally, such production is seasonal. So when there is not enough on the market, the prices goes up. We need to start producing more to satisfy local demand and reduce imports,” Naiken said.
Seychelles also imports almost all its meat and poultry products from Brazil.