It gives me great pleasure to present the Chairman’s Speech for 2018 Annual General Meeting. I would first like to welcome you all to this important industry event. As you all know the AGM brings the membership of AAK together to evaluate the year that has been and chart way forward for the year. Before I begin my speech let me introduce you to the members of the Board who were elected in 2018. (Introduction of Board Members). The board members before you have worked tirelessly with dedication and commitment. They have taken time off their busy schedules to serve this industry tirelessly.
2018 was a unique year for the industry especially since we had come from 2017 which was a difficult year owing to the elections. We faced a good start to the year for the first 6 months as evidenced from import data which is shared by members. As an industry, we noted the change in our membership portfolio due to mergers and acquisitions especially among the multi-national companies. In addition the industry was able to manage constitutional transition smoothly which changed the governance structure of the association. The new board was able to identify its priority areas and ensuring ease in doing business was noted as key for the industry. This couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, because we got our first setback on the use of PET for packaging and the government’s intention to ban PET, then we moved on to the VAT issue and as we ended the year the challenges at the port and PVOC issues. Before I go into each of this issues, let me first highlight what AAK has achieved under each of its strategic pillars.
Based on the outcomes of the context analysis and internal reflections, AAK in 2016 elected to realign its strategic focus areas to make these more focused, as well as ensure greater efficiency, coherence and effectiveness. Subsequently, AAK focused its interventions into four major pillars.
i. Product Stewardship
ii. Regulatory Policy and Standards
iv. Institutional Development
As you are aware Product Stewardship is the core mandate of AAK where as an industry, we would like to maximize use of our products and minimize effects as a result of using them, leading to training in responsible use of pesticides. Product stewardship still remains a key focus area for the association.
When it comes to Responsible Use, 2018 we were able to undertake responsible use trainings that targeted farmers, agrodealers, extension officers and industry. Through AAK’s fall army worm exhibitions and workshops over 5,000 farmers and extension were reached with information on the management of fall army worms. A further 182 agrodealers in 7 counties were trained on the responsible handling of pesticides and a further 223 agrodelaers were accredited under the AAK agrodealer accreditation scheme. 97 extension staff from Meru and Kisii counties were trained as subject matter specialists for onward dissemination of the responsible use information packages to farmers. In partnership with government agencies, 92 farmer field days were staged and these were supported by road show caravans in Kisumu, Homa Bay and Uasin Gishu Counties. The association was also represented at the Naivasha Hortfair, East Africa Jua kali expo and the national fruit and vegetable conference where AAK interacted with our target clientele and potential partners.
On the issue of EPC, the board prioritized this as one of its core activities. Last year, we engaged NEMA and Ministry of Environment. In addition we held a meeting of key stakeholders who include farmer organizations such as CGA, FPEAK and various certifying bodies in order to come up with a clear roadmap in management of EPC. The government was content with progress that AAK has made through its EPC and obsolete stocks management projects, which are in line with their objectives. AAK was able to collect approximately 380,000 tonnes of EPC for incineration. For us this is a drop in the ocean and we hope that with systems in place more will be achieve. However, I urge members to be more cooperative by providing timely information on quantities of plastic generated as well as possible quantities of obsolete stocks held, since this shall go a long way in enabling proper planning and resource allocation.
AAK continues to grow the SSP concept in Kenya. I must say SSP is the next big innovation in management of Pests and diseases. It is however disappointing that the industry which stands to benefit from the SSP concept has not yet embraced SSP concept. The success of this concept lies a lot with the industry taking up the SSPs and building their capacity. I would like to urge members present here to have a session with the stewardship manager and see areas where they can benefit from the SSP. The concept has been able to attract external support from IFDC for Potato farmers in Kuresoi, SNV for Horticulture and the latest being the USAID sponsored.
RTI program targeting 10 economically poor counties in Western and Lower Easter.
To date we have trained over SSPs to 823 countrywide. There has been acceptance of the SSP model as the future of pesticide application and partners including Soil Cares, Agri wallet and member companies have been engaging with them for improved service delivery to farmers who are our main clients. AAK was able to document some of the impacts that the project has
made on small scale farmers especially in the fight against FAW. Towards the end of the year, AAK signed a 14 Million shillings partnership agreement with the USAID funded Kenya Crop and Dairy Market Systems Development project that shall see the number of SSPs double. The project aims at training 800 more SSPs in 10 counties. The project also seeks to create linkage of SSPs with agrodealers as well establish a container management mechanism in the 10 counties.
On the corporate social responsibility front, AAK would like to appreciate the role that members played in the establishment of 10 Hectares of indigenous forest trees in Likia forest during the long rain season of 2018. This gesture shall go a long way in restoration of Kenya’s main water tower. We still however require your support this year to cover more and we will soon be engaging you towards this noble cause.
Regulatory Policy and Standards,
Regulatory affairs also took a front seat in 2018, with several activities aimed at streamlining the regulatory environment being carried out. We are all aware of the changes happening globally e.g. case against Glyphosate, some molecules being listed as HHPs, EDs, and residue issues which has led to LOD requirement in some produce and the increasing activism on products,.
We cannot ignore that what happens globally is affecting our local market. In this aspect, we have noted what our neighboring countries are doing especially when it comes to listing of molecules and eminent ban and are closely monitoring as it also has impact to trade amongst some of our member companies.
AAK also facilitated in the review of some components of the proposed PCP bill and regulations, with issues related to CBI. Minor crop extrapolation of herbs and crop grouping of vegetables was also completed in 2018. Crop grouping for cereals and herbs will be done in 2019.
The CEO was also part of the Kenyan delegation that validated the Harmonization of Registration of pesticides under EAC. This was signed into law by the council members of each EAC state. This therefore means that regulators under the EAC countries will now have to start implementing the harmonization procedure. We are organizing a meeting with PCPB for the
industry so that they can take the industry through the proposed changes.
In response to interceptions of horticultural produce destined for international markets, an industry wide meeting was held with horticultural producers and input suppliers to discuss the impact of MRL’s on our agriculture sector. The workshop came up with a declaration to strengthen the Horticulture Competent Authority Structure that’s chaired by KEPHIS as well as expediting the registration for products used in minor crops. The participants also agreed to put in place stringent deterrent measures for producers who abuse pest control products. With such collaboration, it’s expected that the industry shall better self-regulate in order to secure the very lucrative export markets for our horticultural produce.
Closer home, a 2-day workshop organized in partnership with CLAME was convened to discuss the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM). The workshop provided an ideal forum for experience sharing among the national and regional representatives on emerging issues in the global Agrochem industry. The main outcomes from these dialogues were the identification of potential options and scenarios for accelerated risk management, the prioritization of identified problems and recommendations for respective mitigation measures to cushion members from global challenges.
Members of industry were in June 2018 hosted to a training seminar on the proposed Global Harmonization System for labelling of Chemicals. The seminar laid bare the basics requirements on how to go about the implementation of GHS. Other countries in South and Western Africa have used the GHS manual developed by Kenya to spearhead their implementation process while Kenya stagnates. We are working together with PCPB to expedite all activities that are hindering full implementation of the GHS labelling.
The fight against counterfeits is one that industry shall not accept to lose. Various activities aimed at bolstering this war were undertaken by the Anti Counterfeit Steering Committee. This included the strengthening and accreditation of agrodealers through their County Agrodealer associations, convening of anticounterfeit awareness campaigns targeting farmer opinion leaders and accreditation of member companies. 140 staff of member companies were accredited and issued with accreditation cards. Members should recall that they all pledged to support the accreditation process, but the office has faced challenges in getting AAK staff to come accredit their staff. The ACSC closely collaborated with government agencies such as the Anti Counterfeit Agency and the Multi-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Working Group that was constituted by the president for purposes of fighting counterfeits. The contribution of partners such as Kenya Markets Trust is highly appreciated.
Partnership focused on facilitating strategic collaborations or linkages key actors as a basis of promoting sector integration, synergy, resource leveraging, as well as learning. The Board has made efforts to establish and better manage relations between AAK members and other actors whose actions are complementary to AAK. This is premised on the realization that by itself, AAK will not be able to successfully and sustainably attain its ambitions.
Under Partnership, the Board of Directors held meetings with different government bodies to discuss various obstacles to doing business and its impact on agriculture, the economy and the country’s Big 4 Agenda. This dialogue will continue in 2019 to ensure that there is a conducive environment for farmers and the agriculture sector in Kenya. In 2018, and in line with the Boards agenda of advocacy and ensuring we are represented in the Government platform, AAK employed a Regulatory and Liaison Manager. The position was filled by Mr. Joel Mutai who was formally a Senior Registration Officer at Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) and brings wealth of experience in Regulatory and Technical issues
AAK hosted its members to several networking forums for purposes of business networking and to bring members up to speed with the trends in the local and global – agrochemical industries, which trends may have an impact on how business is being done in Kenya and beyond. If you were part of this forums, you will notice we tried to bring experts in areas we felt members needed AAK intervention such as Credit Reference Bureau, KPMG, NEMA. We will continue to do so this year and I urge members to participate actively in this fora as they are for the benefit of members.
In an effort to streamline the collection of import levy, AAK put up a system whereby members are supposed to have narration on their bank deposit slips during payment of levy. The purpose of this narration was to make it easier to identify the company making the payments to AAK.
This has however not been adhered to by all members posing the challenge of reconciliation. I urge members to be diligent in filling the narration to make it easier for reconciliations and secure all funding that is due to our association.
So what does 2019 have for us?
As a Board, we will continue in the same spirit motivated by the recognition of the need for strategic (re)positioning in light of the dynamic operational context. Our plan builds on the lessons drawn from the last year. Our Strategy will also seek to ensure that industry contributes effectively towards attainment of Big 4 Agenda. These will also include amongst others strategies for ensuring greater effectiveness and sustainability of our work, as well as strengthening institutional capacity of AAK and other relevant actors.
We are confident that, over 2019, AAK will make significant progress towards achieving its set goals and mission. We extend our gratitude to our members, partners and other stakeholders for the moral, financial and material support to us. We also wish to thank our members and other actors who will subscribe to our vision by collaborating with us towards the operationalization of the AAK strategy. We believe that with your confidence and support, we shall attain our goals, and make meaningful difference in the quality of life of Kenyans.