A new requirement mandates Kenyans to obtain licenses for the processing and sale of nuts and oil crops, a measure aimed at addressing issues caused by brokers and cartels in the sector. The Nuts and Oil Crops Development Bill 2023, presented in Parliament, specifies that individuals involved in activities related to nuts like coconut, groundnuts, and macadamia must obtain permits.
The bill defines nuts to include coconut, cashew, macadamia, bambara, and groundnuts, while oils encompass sunflower, sesame, safflower, palm, and jojoba. Violators engaged in trade without the necessary permits face potential penalties of a Ksh1 million fine or a two-year jail term, or both.
According to the bill, those intending to process nuts and oil products must submit applications, as outlined in county legislation, to the county executive committee member. Applicants are required to provide all necessary documents and information as specified by the county committee.
Upon application, the committee will review it within 14 days, deciding whether to grant, refuse, renew, or issue the license. Any decision made by the committee will be communicated to the applicant in writing within seven days. In case of refusal, the applicant will be informed of the reasons for denial.
Nominated Senator Hamida Kibwana proposed the bill to rejuvenate the industry by enforcing policies and institutional frameworks governing its operations. She emphasized the necessity for a strong policy foundation to guide the industry, ensuring its growth contributes to a robust agricultural economy.
The bill also aims to recognize the medicinal, aesthetic, touristic, and artistic value of various nuts and oil crops by encouraging value addition in their processing. Additionally, it calls for the establishment of the Nuts and Oil Crops Development Board to regulate the sector.