Rose flower farmers need measures to fight against the False Codling Moth (FCM) to retain and expand the lucrative European Union market.
Three years ago, the FCM was listed as a regulated quarantine pest in the EU following a risk assessment that indicated it can establish itself in the member states with economic consequences, hence the need for intervention.
In a virtual meeting between the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), the Kenya Flower Council, the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), and more than 170 exporters, it was agreed that measures be put in place to safeguard the market.
“The EU is the leading importer of our roses, and there have been changes in market requirements leading to non-conformities,” observed Prof Theophilus Mutui, the managing director of Kephis.
Flower exporters needed to comply to maintain the market, he added.
The presence of the FCM egg, larvae, and adult in a consignment of rose cut flowers, it was noted, would result in interception and notification of non-compliance by Kenya, hence the need to manage the risk.
Speakers from Kephis noted that 100 per cent of Kenya’s roses are grown in greenhouses and that there are currently five to 10 per cent inspections in the importing countries. This would increase if measures were not taken to address increased interceptions due to the pest.
Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi called for mitigating against the pest on the farm.
“Ninety-five per cent of the solution is mitigation of the pest at farm level,” he said, warning that any repercussions would affect the flower industry as a whole.
Kephis together with the industry stakeholders have developed an FCM protocol to guide the management of the pest and reduce non-compliance.
The proposed control measures include conducting a root-cause analysis to identify existing gaps on the farm, purchasing correct pheromone traps or lures from authorised dealers for biological controls, and engaging scouts to look out for the pests.
However, getting the correct data from the scout is important.