USDA expands US wheat export market
After 12 years of discussion and technical visits, the USDA has allowed US wheat from Idaho, Oregon and Washington to be added to the list of states that can ship wheat to Kenya – the market of which is valued at nearly $500 million annually.
US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, has announced that, effective immediately, US wheat may now be shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export.
“American farmers in the Pacific Northwest now have full access to the Kenyan wheat market,” said Greg Ibach, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “This action proves our commitment to securing fair treatment and greater access for US products in the global marketplace,” he continued.
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 US wheat exports from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington out of Kenya. The US-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 US Trade Representative to resolve this longstanding issue with Kenya.
On 28 January 2020, Kenya’s national plant protection organisation officially signed the Export Certification Protocol between Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and APHIS/PPQ on Wheat Grain Consignments to Kenya for immediate implementation.
“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 US producers and exporters,” said Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney.
As part of the technical agreement, APHIS will work with US 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.