Kenya plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) has launched a campaign to help protect mango trees from diseases.
The campaign is known as -‘Komesha Fruit fly’ targets the fruit fly menace in mango farms.
The measures put in place to mitigate against the fruit fly include certification of mango farms and produce, capacity building of stakeholders in the mango value chain; development of modern mango collection centers.
KEPHIS has been working with other institutions and organisations including; Rockefeller Foundation, Technoserve, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), mango traders, researchers, innovators, development partners, government departments and private sector actors in creating Pest Free Areas(PFAs) and systematic approaches to mitigating against the notorious fruit fly pest.
A PFA is defined as a geographical area where a specific pest does not occur or has been completely eradicated and can be demonstrated by scientific evidence and in which, where appropriate, this condition is being officially maintained.
In 2004, Kenya self-banned the export of mangoes to the European Union (EU) to come up with strategies to ensure that mangoes are free from fruit fly.
The PFA has been created in Makueni - specifically in Wote and Kibwezi - targeting 7,500 households under phase1, covering about 3,000 hectares.
On Wednesday, the KEPHIS Managing Director, Dr Esther Kimani, said Mango is the second most important fruit in Kenya, after banana.
“In Makueni, as part of the mitigation measures we have established at least one modern pack house fitted with hot water treatment equipment in every Ward and creation of a modern open-air market facility for local marketing of mangoes and other fresh produce,” she during a visit to Kisii.
Robin Achoki, Kephis Chairman said Kenya is the 10th largest mango producer in the world, with an annual production volume of 920, 000 metric tonnes in 2017; domestic mango production has increased by 13 percent per annum from 2000-2017.
“Increase in both domestic consumption and international demand has driven much of the fast growth in the Kenyan mango. We have to work together to ensure that the country meets the requirements for export," he said.
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