The European Union (EU) has given its nod to the importation of temperature treated mango fruits from Kenya, opening up a lucrative market for the country’s fresh produce. The EU’s notification, published in June 2023, approves the use of vapour heat treatment (VHT) for fresh mango fruit, adding to the 2021 approval of the hot water treatment system for mango exports.
For mango farmers in Kenya, this development is a significant boost, as it paves the way for expanded opportunities in the EU market. The approval allows exporters to choose between vapour heat treatment and hot water treatment for their mangoes.
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) made an official statement , highlighting the importance of adhering to the Kenya mango certification protocol to meet the EU Market’s phytosanitary and quality standards. KEPHIS Managing Director Prof. Theophilus Mutui mentioned that one temperature treatment facility has been approved for mango exports to the EU and Jordan Market, and more facilities are in the pipeline to further support the mango export business.
In addition to the temperature treatment approval, KEPHIS is actively assisting farmers, exporters, and other stakeholders in producing export-quality mangoes. This support includes establishing and approving pest-free zones (areas of low pest prevalence) and providing capacity building on mango export market requirements in different mango production zones.
The EU market for Kenyan mangoes had been closed for eight years due to quarantine pest infestation, particularly fruit flies. However, in November 2021, Kenya successfully resumed exports to the EU market after significantly reducing fruit flies’ prevalence in the leading mango-growing counties.
Last year, in July, the Kenyan government launched a state-of-the-art hot water treatment facility for horticultural crops at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The facility was intended to bolster and expand the horticulture export business, enabling better market access and solidifying Kenya’s position as a leading exporter of fresh horticultural produce in the global market.
With the EU’s approval of vapour heat treatment alongside the existing hot water treatment system, Kenyan mango exporters now have more options to ensure their fruits meet the stringent standards required for access to the European market. This new milestone not only promises growth for the mango industry but also heralds economic prosperity for the communities involved in the trade.