ABOUT HORTICULTURAL CROPS DIRECTORATE
The Horticultural Crops Directorate ( HCD) which was formerly known as Horticultural Crops Development Authority (‘HCDA’) was established under the Agriculture Act, Chapter 318 of the Laws of Kenya, through Legal Notice No. 229 of 1967.
The statutory objective of the Directorate is to promote, develop and coordinate the production and marketing of horticultural produce At the time of its establishment, the horticultural sub-sector was seen as a viable solution for the country’s need for cash crop diversification, enhanced food nutrition, income generation, employment creation and foreign exchange earning in addition to providing raw material for agro-processing industries.
The focus of the Directorate at inception was mainly the small -holder farmers who had the potential to utilize their own labour, as the production processes were labour intensive, with a view to getting high return for their limited land. The sub-sector has been the focus of most government policies. The Government has developed a National Horticultural Policy that outlines key policy interventions to revamp and reposition the sub-sector
Over the years, HCD’s functions have evolved with the changing Government policies and sub-sector demands. Initially, the focus was on development and marketing, product value-addition, opening up new production areas and markets, undertaking market promotions and marketing produce on behalf of the farmers. However, with liberalization and reduced Government involvement in direct trading, HCD’s role has been re-engineered to regulating, promoting, coordinating, developing and facilitating operations of the horticultural sub-sector to ensure smooth production and marketing environment and to advocate for policies that favor investment and enhanced performance of the sub-sector.
The overall Mandate of the Directorate is to facilitate the development, promotion, coordination and regulation of the horticultural sub-sector in Kenya. The roles and responsibilities of the Directorate are to:
1. Advice the Government and the industry on matters related to horticulture production and marketing;
2. Collect and collate data, maintain a database and disseminate information on horticultural activities for planning purposes;
3. Provide specialized horticulture extension services;
4. Appoint agents for the implementation or performance of any function of the Authority under the mandate;
5. Directly or indirectly support the establishment of fruit tree mother blocks;
6. Regulate the horticulture nurseries, production, post-harvest handling and marketing of horticultural crops and produce;
7. Promote development and adoption of standards for labelling, packaging, grading, transporting and storing horticultural produce in compliance with local and international standards;
8. Impose levies, fees or charges on producers, dealers and nursery operators as the Minister may approve;
9. Promote the establishment and use of production, processing and marketing infrastructure for horticultural crops;
10. Facilitate marketing of horticultural products in the local and international markets; and
11. Provide for any other matter in furtherance of the development of horticultural crops or conducive to the exercise of its mandate.