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Kenya to resume mangoes exports to the European market

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Mangoes are notoriously considered as a high-risk fruit because of their attraction to fruit flies (Tephritidae). In order to be imported in the EU, the exporter has to obtain a phytosanitary document from the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) in his country (that in case of Kenya is the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, KEPHIS). The phytosanitary certificate, which states that the fruit is pest-free, must be transmitted to the importer in the country of destination of the shipment and submitted to the phytosanitary authorities for approval.

In 2014, Kenyan exports of mangoes to the European market was disrupted due to the fruit fly menace that affected local mango production. Since then, the country imposed a self-ban on export of mangoes to Europe, pending the introduction in the country of effective hydrothermal treatments to disinfect mango from fruit flies.

On 1th September 2019, the new European Union directive on mango imports entered into force (Directive EU 2019/523, amending Annexes I to V of the EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29/EC). Such Directive requires, among others, that the mango must be subjected to an effective treatment to ensure that it is free from Tephritidae, and that the treatment data must be included in the phytosanitary certificate.

In addition, the treatment method must be communicated in writing to the European Commission by the NPPO of the exporting country.

A shipment of Kenyan mangoes subjected to hot water treatment (a commonly used treatment in several countries to disinfect mango from fruit flies), recently reached Italy and was accepted by the Italian phytosanitary authorities.

Kenya is now optimistic that it will be able to resume mangoes exports to the European market after the 8-years self imposed ban. However, the perishable nature of the fruit - which requires to be marketed as quickly as possible - makes necessary to use the air transport for the shipment of the fruit in Europe, a mode of transport that attracts high transportation fees. This makes less price-competitive Kenyan mangoes compared to other African countries that are geographically closer to the EU market, like Egypt.


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