KENYA – The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) has announced that mango exporters can now have the leeway to export fresh mango fruits either treated using vapor heat or hot water to the lucrative multi-billion European market.

The communique follows the approval from the European Union (EU) to use vapour heat treatment (VHT) in fresh mango fruit from Kenya for exports to its market.

Mango is the second most common fruit produced in Kenya after banana is grown by 49, 098 hectares producing 69.8 million kilograms valued at Sh10.5 billion in 2019.

Makueni County is leading in production with a total of 4.3 million mango trees grown by over 100,000 farmers producing more than 184, 000 metric tonnes followed by Kitui and Machakos counties respectively.

Last year in July, the government launched a hot water treatment facility for horticultural crops at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

“This hot water treatment facility will revitalize and expand the horticulture export business by improving market access, therefore, cementing Kenya’s position as a leading exporter of fresh horticulture produce to the global market”, said the then Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The new development is a major boost to mango farmers in addition to the 2021 approval on the export of the hot water treatment system that opened up market outlets for the fresh produce sector.

KEPHIS Managing Director Prof. Theophilus Mutui has advised exporters to adhere to the Kenya mango certification protocol to ensure that the fruits meet both phytosanitary and quality standards for the EU Market

“KEPHIS has approved one temperature treatment facility for the 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”, he said in the statement.

KEPHIS is supporting farmers, exporters, and other stakeholders to produce export-quality mango through the 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.

Mangoes from Kenya, which are subject to strict standard checks and traceability, have been attracting potential markets across the continent and globally.

Ghana, recently, sent a delegation to sign trade ties with Kenya to supplement its mango exports to Europe during the off-season with imports for Kenya, a move that reportedly could result in a win-win bilateral trade partnership for the two countries.

The country’s main varieties of mango grown are Apple (low fiber) and Ngowe (high fiber), accounting for 39% and 17%, respectively.

Apple is the variety of choice for export and the fresh fruit domestic market because of its color and aroma when ripe.

The Ngowe variety is mainly used for processing due to its large size and high Brix content, resulting in high quality and quantity of pulp.

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