Kenyan supply chain tracker helps farmers overcome pesticide barrier

12 September 2016

Supply chain tracking technology has helped Kenyan farmers overcome a 50% drop in exports caused by EU pesticide standards.

The National Horticulture Traceability System (HTC) was developed to reduce the number of crop shipments deemed substandard on arriving at their overseas destination. It allows substandard crops to be traced back to the farms of origin to help them correct errors and prevent future crops being rejected.

The system was created by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the US government as a response to mandatory pesticide checks introduced by the EU, as Kenyan crops were considered to have a high level of pesticide residue.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the US government bodies involved in the project, claims the legislation caused a 50% decline in bean and pea exports from Kenya, disproportionately effecting smallholders.

Over the last 18 months USAID has been working with the Kenyan government, export companies and 1,460 smallholders to develop the cloud-based system.

HTC is compromised of a mobile application for farmers to upload information on products, a web portal for data storage and sharing and a labelling system that uses easy to print QR codes to track produce.

It shares information between farmers, warehouses, exporters and the government and “reduces the time needed for investigation and for applying necessary corrective measures”, said USAID. 

“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve achieved together,” said Beth Dunford, USAID’s deputy coordinator for development for the Feed the Future programme, at the HTS launch.

“Innovations like this traceability technology, and the partnerships that make them possible, are critical to building a more food-secure future,” she added.

USAID claim the system has already led to Kenya being taken off the EU’s compulsory pesticide inspection list.

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