Japan, South Korea ban Kenyan Coffee Imports over Chemical Contamination
Japanese and South Korean authorities have forbidden the importation of Kenyan Coffee for three years, due to an exceeding of the accepted level of ochratoxin, a substance naturally present in coffee beans, cocoa, dried fruits or cereals.
The Kenyan coffee, which is highly sought-after by many countries around the world due to its intense flavor and its pleasant aroma, is ban for three years. For the moment, local stakeholders are raising concerns that if this is not reversed, then the product may face a total ban.
In the meantime, the chairperson of Kenya Coffee Producers Association, Peter Gikonyo, is calling on the government to react before the problem spreads in other importing countries. He believes that the ban in Japan and South Korea may permanently tarnish the image of Kenyan coffee and ultimately lead to a wave of cargo rejections from other countries.
“The flagging of Kenyan coffee by the key markets due to high levels of contamination does not augur well for the sector. The government has to move fast in addressing this challenge,” Peter Gikonyo, said.
Going by him, the ban is because of gaps in certification procedures for coffee agrochemicals, inadequate capacity of farmers in handling the post-harvest of the crops and gaps in coffee export regulations and enforcement.
Statistics for 2017/2018 show that South Korea accounted for 12% of Kenya’s coffee exports, fourth after Germany, United States and Belgium
Besides, South Korea is notably the second most important Asian outlet after India. Over the past three years, it has absorbed on average of about 3,800 tonnes of Kenyan coffee with a peak of 4,600 tonnes in 2018, or close to 10% of the volume dispatched according to data relayed by the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA.