Basic Export Requirements (Fruit,Vegetable) in Kenya

Short description: the basic export requirements for fruits and vegetables in Kenya

Export Requirements for Fruits and Vegetables in Kenya

The following are the prerequisite requirements in the export of fresh fruits and vegetables:

  • Export licence from HCDA 
  • Phytosanitary and conformity certificates from KEPHIS 
  • Euro 1 Certificate (For EU Market) 
  • GlobalGAP Certification
  • MRL limit compliance (EU) 
  • For UK supermarkets, they require BRC certification

Private standards in EU, non-EU and other countries (e.g. USA, Japan, and Middle East) keep on changing with time, and therefore, individual markets may have additional private standard requirements (check with HCDA and/or your contracted export company).


General product specifications to Europe

(Specifications may vary within the EU countries and other European countries.)

French beans 

1. Extra fine

Length: minimum 8 cm, maximum 10 cm
Diameter: minimum 4 mm, maximum 6 mm
Turgidity: should be less than 5% flaccid
Colour: mid to dark green colour
Straight pods with very slight curvature
Pest and disease tolerance: 0-5% rust and 0-5% anthracnose. However, most supermarkets demand totally blemish-free


2. Fine

Length: minimum 10 cm, maximum 17 cm
Diameter: minimum 6 mm, maximum 9 mm
Flesh mostly juicy and crisp
Pest and disease tolerance: < 5% (pest damage, pest infestation and mechanical damage). 
However, most supermarkets demand totally blemish-free crunchy and moist (with < 3% dehydration visible)


3. Bobby

Length: minimum 14 cm, maximum 17 cm
Diameter: minimum 8 mm, maximum 10 mm
Most supermarkets demand totally blemish-free


Snow peas

Length: minimum 6 cm, maximum 11 cm
Width: minimum 1 cm, maximum 2.5 cm
Most supermarkets demand totally blemish-free



Pack range size 8-16 pieces with a maximum of 4 kg per box
Free from latex contamination, no physical insect pest and disease infestation, free from bruises and other mechanical damages. The fruits should be shiny and freshly looking with 5 mm of stalk attached to control pathogen infestation through that point.
The fruits are given sizes according to the number of the fruits per carton e.g. 8, 9 10, etc. 
Grading can be done either manually or by use of machine.  
Have a high pitch when tapped



Pack size 10-18 pieces with a maximum of 4 kg per box. Fruits should be uniform in size, at most 5 mm stalk attached to the fruit, wax polish to prevent desiccation and dehydration. This can either be done manually or by machine. Grading can also be done the same way


Passion fruits

Pack size 48 pieces in a 2 kg box. Fruits uniformly sized no physical bruises on the skin of the fruits. There should be no disease or pest infestation on the fruits.  
Uniformly yellow in colour, fine, crisp, free from dehydration with a high pitch when tapped
Round blossom end
Length of 450-75 mm and diameter of 200-350 mm


Lemon grass

Dark green, turgid and tender stems with uniform appearance
No pest damages
Size should be 200-300 mm in length with a 15 mm stack attached
They should be free from any discolouration and any coarseness and of a smooth texture
Generally clean and well maintained stems are packaged in crates with no soil contamination on it.


Red onion

They should be conical with purple outer leaves.
Diameter of 40-75 mm diameter is required and regular in shape with no bulbing.
Crunchy and crispy texture with slight moisture and free from any fibrousness.
No pest damage and mechanical damage.


Sugar snaps

Mid to dark green pods with crispy and crunchy texture but with some juiciness.
Should be turgid sized 75-100 mm in length with 15 mm stalk attached.
No pest damage and mechanical damage.



They are supposed to be mid to dark green in colour with turgid stems and leaves where the upper leaves are wispy and finely separated and lower leaves broad and less serrated.
They should have a flat and smooth texture, tender, free from bolting, no pest and mechanical damage.
The size ranges between 25-35 mm in width in crates free from soil contaminants.


Sweet corn

It should be received at a temperature of below 15oC, when shelled the colour should e pale to golden yellow, the kernels should be turgid, tender and should be homogeneous in shape with no kernel nor cob damaged by pests.
The cobs must be free from mechanical damage, not infected with any diseases and free from any foreign bodies. The kernels should crunchy and juicy. 
They should be 10 mm and 6 mm in size measured across the widest point and they should be packaged in intact wooden pallets free from wooden chips.



They should be received at a temperature of <150C, the pod colour should be mid to dark green with <5% flaccid pods which show less than <5 % curling or bending. 
The pods should not be infested by pests and with no mechanical damage.
They should have crispy and crunchy texture but with some juiciness and should have <10% slightly seeded with non-stringy pods.
The pods should be 60-90 mm long, with a variation of <20 mm within a crate. They should be generally clean and well maintained and packed in crates without damages and no soiling.


Red cabbage

Receiving temperature should be at <150C a dark purple colour with a turgid, compact and round/circular head. 
There should be no pest damage and nor mechanical damage. 
They should be firm, free from discolouration and coarseness and well formed leaves.
They should be generally clean and packaged in crates without damages and no soiling.



They should be received at a temperature of less than 150C with a mid to dark brown colour, crispy and crunchy texture but with some juiciness. 
They should be 75-100 mm long with a variation of <20 mm within a crate. 
The pods should not be infested by any type of pest nor disease.


Baby corn

When stripped they should be pale to mid yellow with a white butt, snap easily when bent hence highly turgid with no cobs infested or damaged by pests and diseases and no mechanical damage. 
They are supposed to conical, straight in shape leading to a point with evenly immature kernels in straight sets sized 100-180 mm in length and 10-20 mm in diameter.
The physical structure should be snappy on bending, crispy, crunchy and moist, easy to munch.


Large carrots

The colour should be uniform mid orange, straight roots with well filled, slightly tapered roots with no pest nor disease damages. 
They should be moist when cut raw, with no hollowing crisp and free from woodiness. Minimum of 7% sugar is recommended without mechanical damage. 
Length of 100-250 mm and diameter of 25-50 mm is highly required.



Stems should be uniformly dark green and glossy, turgid and tender with compact tips, thick, bright foxtail-like spears with cladodes (leaves) and no spear should have pest damage.
They should be tender free from discolouration and tough, at least 23 cm long, no mechanical damage, no disease damage, generally clean and packed in crates free any soil contaminations


Tender stem broccoli

Leaves should be mid to dark green, heads should be fresh, firm and turgid, no pest damage with no length and 6-10 mm diameter is required only allowing <10% outside the range. Single terminal heads used with straight heads packaged in crates free from any soil contaminants


Garden peas

The pods are usually mid to dark green, straight with no pest damage on the pods.
Mechanical damage is not acceptable, with a smooth and tender texture without any depressions. Diameter of the peas is recommended at 6-10 mm and no diseases.


The causes of shipments interceptions in the EU:

  • Non compliance with regulations. 
  • Presence of harmful organisms (quarantine pests) in consignment 
  • Pesticide residues above the acceptable limits in and/or on produce. 
  • Other quality considerations. 
  • Inappropriate documentation. 

Major quarantine pests are:

  • Bollworms (Helicoverpa spp.). 
  • Leaf miner (Liriomyza spp.) 
  • White flies 
  • Fruit flies 
  • Thrips 
  • Spider mites

The package material should contain the following information

  • Shipper name and address 
  • Product and quantity 
  • Class 
  • Country of origin 
  • Recyclable symbols and the green dot where they apply 


For more information on products specifications in Kenya check with the following:


1. Horticultural Crop Development Authority (HCDA)
Tel.: +254 20 827260
Fax: +254 20 3532898


2. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya
Tel.: +254 20 4451488/440442
Fax: +254 20 445189


3. Check with contracted export company (This is applicable to all exporting countries).


Certification bodies (fruits & vegetables) in East Africa

(The listed certification bodies may be accredited for GlobalGAP and/or organic production) 


1. AfriCert Ltd.
Tel.: +254 20 8081330
Fax.: +254 20 828859


2. EnCert Ltd.
Tel.: +254 724 910 240


3. Soil Association Certification Ltd.
Tel.: +44 117 314 5000
Fax: +44 117 314 5001


4. Bureau Veritas Kenya Ltd.
Tel.: +254 20 4450560/61/62/63
Fax: +254 20 4450565



5. SGS Kenya
Tel: +254 202733690
Fax: +254 202733664


6. IMO Uganda Ltd.
Tel: +41 (0) 716260626
Fax: +49 (0) 32121229690


7. IMO Tanzania
Tel: +255 784618490


8. TanCert 
Tel: +255 222124441
Fax: +255 222124441


9. Ecocert ? Bureau Madagascar/East Africa
Tel: +261 330201998
Fax: +261 202254864


10. Naturland-Verband
Tel: +49 89898082-0
Fax: +49 89898082-90


11. UgoCert
Tel: +256 41269416


For more information on export regulations in Kenya check with the following:

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)
Tel: +254 20 3536171/2
Fax: +254 20 3536175

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