WASHINGTON — US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that, effective immediately, US wheat may now be shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export. This important step will allow US wheat from Idaho, Oregon and Washington to be added to the list of states that can ship wheat to Kenya.
“American farmers in the Pacific Northwest now have full access to the Kenyan wheat market,” said Greg Ibach, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “This action proves our commitment to securing fair treatment and greater access for U.S. products in the global marketplace.”
For the last 12 years, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has worked closely with Kenyan officials to address plant health concerns that kept U.S. wheat exports from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington out of Kenya. The U.S.-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group, established after an August 2018 White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, provided the forum for APHIS, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to finally resolve this longstanding issue with Kenya.
On Jan. 28, Kenya’s national plant protection organization officially signed the Export Certification Protocol between Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and APHIS/PPQ on Wheat Grain Consignments to Kenya for immediate implementation. The protocol gives U.S. exporters full access to Kenya’s wheat market, valued at nearly $500 million annually.
“Going forward, the USDA team looks forward to building on this success and further strengthening our relationship with Kenya as we pursue a new bilateral free trade agreement that will create additional market opportunities for U.S. producers and exporters,” said Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.
After 12 years of discussion and a US technical visit, Kenya agreed to lift its prohibition on US wheat exports from Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Kenya will now accept APHIS export phytosanitary inspection and certification for wheat from any US state of origin or port of export, effective immediately.
As part of the technical agreement, APHIS will work with U.S. stakeholders to enhance general surveillance for flag smut of wheat (Urocystis agropyri) in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and ask industry to support a technical visit from Kenya to examine crop surveillance measures for flag smut.