Kenya is set to resume its mango exports to the European Union (EU), following a visit by a delegation of government regulatory agencies and private sector in the horticulture industry at Brussels, last week.
The resumption of exports of mangos to EU is expected to start during the November– March 2022 season.
Kenya has since 2013 placed a self-imposed ban on the export of mangoes to the EU due to the fruit fly menace, keen to avoid having the restriction imposed by the bloc itself as this would make it harder to resume exports once the fly is contained.
Since the ban, however, the Horticulture Crops Directorate has created pest free areas or areas of low pest preference especially in the main mango producing zones of Makueni, Machakos, Meru and parts of Baringo. There has been a significant reduction of the level of these pests and this is what has necessitated the country to think of re-entering the market once more.
Since the ban, Kenya has been exporting mangoes to the United Arab Emirates and the prices there are relatively lower to what EU offers, although the grading is stricter in EU than in Dubai.
Mango exports to the Middle East usually face stiff competition from Egyptian fruit because of the lower cost of shipping from Cairo to Dubai and Qatar. Egyptian mango exporters pay kSh32 per kilo when exporting to the Middle East by sea, more than three times the KSh108 that it costs Kenyan exporters to ship the same quantity.
According to data from HCD, Kenya is the fourth largest producer of mangoes in Africa, with a 1.8% global production share of 0.9 million tonnes.
Mango is the second-highest exported fruit in Kenya, contributing to 10.80% of total fruit export with a value of KSh1.4 billion. In the seven months to July 2021, Kenya’s mango exports hit 3.05 million kilogrammes, worth KSh493 million.
Mangoes are the second-most-common fruit produced in Kenya after bananas, being grown on 49,098 hectares and producing 779, 147 metric tonnes valued at KSh11.9 billion.