Kenya is likely to resume exports of mangoes to the European Union (EU) in December after a period of five years, a government official said.
Benjamin Tito, Director, Horticultural Crops Directorate told Xinhua in Nairobi, that the country imposed an export ban of the crop due to the presence of fruit flies which are classified as quarantine pests in the EU.
“Kenya is now ready to get back to the EU market as we have demonstrated we have systems that are capable of controlling the pest,” Tito said.
He added that the east African nation has been able to manage the insects through the creation of pest-free zones in the mango growing areas.
Tito observed that Kenya will begin with shipments to countries including Britain and France.
He noted that quantities to be sold will be guided by field assessments that determine the amount of produce that is free of pests.
He said that currently, the country is only able to export ten percent of mangoes produced locally due to quality issues.
“Our basic international market includes the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Pakistan which accept our mangoes,” Tito said.
According to Tito, most of the mangoes destined for overseas sales are harvested before they are fully ripe so that by the time they arrive at the market they are ready for use.
He added that owing to the bulky nature of fruits, most are shipped by sea in order for their costs to remain competitive.