KENYA – Mango Farmers in Kenya have started export of their products to Jordan, a new market that will boost export this harvest season even as the country prepares to also start exports to Pakistan in two weeks.

Data from Horticultural Crops Directorate, cited by The Star, shows that Kenya is the fourth largest producer of mangoes in Africa, with a 1.8 percent global production share of 0.9 million tonnes.

Mango is the second-highest exported fruit in Kenya, contributing 10.80 percent of total fruit export with a value of Sh1.4 billion.

The country’s main varieties of mango grown are Apple (low fiber) and Ngowe (high fiber) accounting for 39% and 17% respectively.

Apple is the variety of choice for export and the fresh fruit domestic market because of its color and aroma when ripe. The Ngowe variety is mainly used for processing due to its large size and high Brix content, resulting in high quality and quantity of pulp.

The export pact came along after officials from Jordan visited Kenya last year to evaluate the pest management status of Kenyan mangoes to decide on importation terms.

The officials were particularly interested in knowing the measures that the country has put in place to contain pests that led to Kenya getting a ban from exporting her mangoes to Europe for almost eight years.

The Managing Director of the Kenya Health Inspectorate Service, Theophilus Mutui, reported that Jordan approved Kenya’s pest control system, allowing exports to begin in early 2023.

He stated: “The officials approved our pest-free area and the hot vapor treatment plant, and they were content that we have put enough measures in place, leading to the opening of mango exports to Jordan.”

In 2021, Kenya also piloted a successful export of mangoes to Italy after establishing pest-free areas in Makueni and Elgeyo Marakwet. Exporting fruits grown in pest-free regions ensures that the product is free of fruit flies, as required by most importing trading blocks and countries, e.g., Europe.

Despite sending most of its fruit exports to the Middle East, Kenya is eager to fully resume exporting to the European market, as it yields higher profits for its farmers than any other region in the world.

The country in 2021, engaged with the regulator and industry actors of the EU to lift the ban and got the green-light from the EU in February after sending a trial consignment to Italy in May.

However, Kenya faces stiff competition from Egypt due to lower shipping costs. It is betting on its hot water treatment to contain fruit flies and also give it an upper hand in exporting most of its fruits to the European market.

Kenyan Embassy in Brussels had previously announced that the resumption of exports of mangos to the EU was to start during the November–March 2022 season.

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