Kenya’s agricultural players wary of trade deal with the US

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In February 2020, just weeks after Kenya and the US had commenced talks to set up a trade deal, another announcement was being made. The US Department of Agriculture announced that Kenya will start receiving wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State after the states addressed plant health concerns. The announcement ensured that a trade barrier that existed prohibiting US wheat exports was lifted. It allowed US wheat growers in the Pacific Northwest access to Kenya’s wheat market for the first time in over a decade after the US-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group adopted a phytosanitary protocol. Kenya’s domestic wheat production only meets around 10 percent of its annual demand. According to KNBS, Kenyans consume an estimated one million tonnes of wheat annually hence the country faces a deficit of more than 750,000 tonnes. The country sources much of its wheat import volume from nearby suppliers—Tanzania, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, and the EU—which often has a price and freight advantage over American wheat supplies. This brought fear among farmers in Kenya’s wheat-growing regions of Narok, Laikipia, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Nyandarua. Despite local farmers not meeting the domestic demand, there was fear that the influx of US wheat might

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