Kenya is currently in talks with South Africa so that it can resume its exports of Avocados that have been banned since 2010 due to the presence of the fruit fly pest in the commodity, Kenyan officials said.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) General Manager of Phytosanitary Services Isaac Macharia told Xinhua recently in Nairobi that South Africa has given Kenya, a number of phytosanitary requirements that it must fulfill before exports can begin.
We are confident we will meet all the requirements given that we are already exporting avocados to the European Union which has stringent standards,” Macharia said.
The East African nation is optimistic that exports could resume as early as January 2017. Before the ban was imposed, the avocado trade with South Africa used to earn Kenyan farmers approximately 1.2 million U.S. dollars annually.
Macharia said that South Africa is an important market as it helps Kenya to diversify its exports. “It will help to reduce reliance on European markets and help to cushion farmers in case demand drops,” he noted.
KEPHIS plans to use an integrated pest management systems in order to eliminate fruit fly pest amongst its avocados.
“We are using a combination of traps and safe pesticides to ensure that our agricultural produce meets the safety standards,” Macharia said.
The agricultural standards body will also roll out a sensitization campaign amongst farmers to educate them on the need to use effective pest control management techniques.
KEPHIS said it will improve monitoring and surveillance of pests in the key avocados growing regions in order to weed out the bug. Enditem
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