Answer given by Mr Piebalgs on behalf of the Commission
1. The import of Dutch seedlings does not put the Kenyan potato industry at risk, on the contrary. It aims to raise availability of ‘certified’ seed potatoes in Kenya. Potatoes are Kenya’s second most important food crop, and key for its food security according to the FAO(1). However, the Kenyan present supply of certified seed is only 2 % of the total demand from farmers which has led to a constant decline of production. In order to cope with the continuous population growth, the production must however be intensified. The import of high quality seeds, a Public-Private Partnership project of the Dutch and Kenyan Government, is supported by the Kenyan industry. The availability of higher quality seeds will lead to higher yields, income increases for farmers and employment opportunities, and will enhance food security in Kenya.
Although seed potatoes may be a potential pathway for plant pests and diseases, the Commission has not been aware of any phytosanitary risks linked to this particular project. Neither is it in a position to evaluate these risks associated with seed imports into Kenya. Kenyan authorities are responsible for such an evaluation, and for establishing an appropriate level of phytosanitary protection.
2 and 3. According to available evidence, this does not seem to be a case of incoherence, as the project is aimed at improving food security and has the support of local industry. However, under Article 208 TFEU, the Commission remains committed to promoting Policy Coherence for Development, and is monitoring the issue to detect any possible evidence of disruption of the local economy or threat to food security.