What you need to know:
- Traders using the Middle East route to access EU thus claiming originality.
- High presence of fruit flies saw country ban sales in 2014.
Kenyan authorities are working to curb re-exporting of mangoes to Europe through Middle-Eastern routes even after the country imposed a self-ban on exports to EU.
Kenya stopped sale of mangoes to European nations in 2014 to avoid sanctions from the EU that would have been occasioned by high presence of fruit flies in the produce.
However, the fruits are still finding their way to Europe through third party countries such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Middle-East countries that are at the moment exporting high quantities of the produce from Kenya.
“At the moment, we do not export our mangoes to Europe but they still find their way to that continent, coming as a big challenge to Kenya given that the country is losing out on the originality of its produce,” said Wilfred Yako, assistant director regulation and compliance at Directorate of Horticulture.
Mr Yako said there is need for a multisector approach to curb re-exporting of Kenya’s fruit to other countries, a move that gives credit to exporting nations given that Kenya’s produce are some of the best in the world.
He said they have approached Kenya’s agricultural attaches in affected countries in order to correct the issue.
The official said through re-exporting to other countries, the element of originality is lost with the fruits assumed to be from the last country that sold them.
The issue has also affected avocados and other horticultural produce such as flours, which are also exported to other destinations.
The ban on mango exports was effected following high levels of fruit flies that saw Kenyan consignments intercepted on several occasions, hence the pre-emptive freeze.
Kenya’s horticultural produce has been facing challenges in exports because of the phytosanitary requirements that has seen some of the countries, especially in Europe, impose stricter rules to control export of these quarantine pests.
Avocado has been slapped with stringent rules to adhere to before accessing China. Under the deal agreed in April 2019 between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Kenya would only be allowed to export frozen avocado as a way of taming fruit flies, common in the country.