EU to ease Kenya’s capsicum, chilli export checks on decline of pests

A farmer displays fresh capsicum at his farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The expensive checks on Kenya’s capsicum and chilli by European Union are set to ease following a decline in the level of pest invasion, boosting prospects of higher earnings by exporters.

Kenya Plants Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) says the level of Fall Codling Moth (FCM) pest on the produce, which had seen Europe place high restrictions on checks, has declined from 16 percent to four percent.

FCM, which was first discovered in Kenya in 2017, is a quarantined pest in Europe and any produce exported to that continent must be free of this pest to avoid interceptions.

“When we visited Europe recently, we told them of the milestones that we have made in controlling FCM and it is up to them to do the audits to confirm,” said Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui.

He said the reduction in the prevalence of pests is a result of several interventions, such as the creation of pest-free areas.

The decline implies that the number of samplings done on Kenya’s consignments will be reduced significantly from about five to one or two, a move that will save exporters not only delays caused by the process but also the money spent during the exercise.

Exporters normally have to pay for the cost incurred when authorities in Europe check their consignments.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya chief executive Ojepat Okisegere said Kenya has made strides in containing the pests.

“So far we have made huge steps that are beneficial to our farmers and exporters. Efforts made in containing some of these pests mark a significant achievement in ensuring that there are fewer interceptions on our produce,” he said.

Capsicum and chilli are some of the key vegetables that Kenya exports to Europe.

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