By Zablon Oyugi
Kenya has got additional approval to export temperature-treated mango fruits to the European Union (EU) market.
According to the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) which confirmed this, the approval notification to use vapour heat treatment (VHT) for fresh mango fruit from Kenya was published by the EU in June 2023.
KEPHIS Managing Director Theophilus Mutui said that the new development is in addition to the 2021 approval to use the hot water treatment approach.
“This means that exporters now have the leeway to export fresh mango fruits either treated using vapour heat or hot water,” said Mutui.
In addition to the temperature treatment, Mutui noted, the exporters are advised to adhere to the Kenya mango certification protocol to ensure that the fruits meet both phytosanitary and quality standards for the EU market.
Temperature treatment facility
Kephis has approved one temperature treatment facility for treatment of mango to the EU and Jordan Market. The institution is in the process of approving more facilities to support the mango export business.
Additionally, KEPHIS is supporting farmers, exporters, and other stakeholders to produce export-quality mango through establishment and approval of pest free zones (areas of low pest prevalence), and capacity building on mango export market requirements in different mango production zones.
In January 2020, KEPHIS launched the Komesha Fruit Fly campaign to help improve production and quality of mangoes in Kenya which would lead to increasing export and farmer’s income.
KEPHIS further noted that the campaign also sought to sensitise and create awareness on economic benefits of the use of integrated pest management technologies to curb fruit fly damage on mango fruits.
Fruit flies menace
In September 2021, Kenya resumed export of mangoes to the EU after an eight-year self-imposed ban following interceptions of produce due to fruit flies.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation indicates that the invasive fruit fly (Bactrocera invadens) is the main insect pest reported on avocado and mangoes in Kenya.
The notable effect of the fruit fly is loss of export value because it is a quarantine pest.
KALRO adds that fruit flies cause 40 to 80 per cent of the fruit damage in Kenya. This leads to a high cost of production, poor quality fruit, high post-harvest losses and loss of market value.