Kenya will resume its mango export business to European Union a week after Kenyan officials toured Belgium.
The team met in Brussels and discussed with counterparts from the EU and the private sector colleagues on possible resumption of mango export to the European Union after a self-ban of seven years.
“It is envisaged that the engagement with the regulator and industry actors of the EU will ensure that the Kenya mangos that are currently in season are absorbed by the EU market shelves. Surveys are underway to identify other areas where similar hot water treatment initiatives will be installed,” the statement read.
The resumption of exports of mangos to EU is expected to start during the November– March 2022 season.
The self-ban was imposed because in 2013 and early 2014, Kenya had a big problem of the mango fruit fly and the mango weevil.
“Arising from that, we felt that we were not able to meet the stringent requirement which calls for any consignment being exported to the EU, to be free of the quarantine pests. As a sector, we felt at that time we were not able to meet that requirement, leading to the self-ban. It was not imposed to us we did it ourselves,” said Benjamin Tito, director of the Horticulture Crops Directorate under the Agriculture and Food Authority.
To resolve the problem, the government created pest free areas or areas of low pest preference especially in the main mango producing zones of Makueni, Machakos, Meru and parts of Baringo.
Tito said there has been a significant reduction of the level of these pests and this is what has necessitated the country to think of re-entering the market once more.
“We got the greenlight from the EU in February and after that we sent a trail consignment to Italy in May. This did not have any issue and we felt that we can hype the campaign so that again we can be able to recapture our lost glory for the mango market.”
He said over the years, Kenya has been exporting mangoes to the United Arab Emirates and the prices there are relatively lower to what EU offers, although the grading is stricter in EU than in Dubai.
Exports to the Middle East usually face stiff competition from Egypt due to lower cost of shipping from Cairo to Dubai and Qatar.
Egyptian mango exporters pay Ksh.32 per kilo when exporting to the Middle East by sea, more than three times the Sh108 that it costs Kenyan exporters to ship the same quantity.
Mango is the second-highest exported fruit in Kenya, contributing to 10.80 percent of total fruit export with a value of Ksh1.4 billion.
Kenya exported 3.05 million kilogrammes of mangoes worth Ksh.493 million in the seven months to July 2021.