KENYA – Ghana is seeking to supplement its mango exports to Europe during the off-season with imports for Kenya, a move that reportedly could result in a win-win bilateral trade partnership for the two countries.
Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters president Davies Korboe led a delegation of exporters to Kenya for a fact-finding mission on its ability to supply their market before signing bilateral agreements.
“We can trade among ourselves where we don’t have mango we can easily access from here when ours is off-season for export to Europe,” said Mr. Korboe.
The trade deal will see Kenyan farmers export both processed and fresh mangoes to Ghana, making it the fourth export destination for local produce after the European Union, United Arab Emirates, and the East African Community.
The new mango program is being supported by the European Union-funded Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) will train farmers on good practices to access the Ghanaian market given the stringent measure imposed by Europe on exports of fresh produce.
Under the market access program, farmers will be trained in phytosanitary requirements to meet the standards of the European Union.
“The international market requires some basic standards to be complied with before you are given a market there, hence the need for training to ensure compliance,” said MARKUP Kenya national coordinator Maina Karuiru.
Data from Horticultural Crops Directorate 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.
In 2022, the Kenyan government launched standards that will ensure the food safety and traceability of horticulture produce.
Sanitary and phytosanitary issues and excess use of pesticides in produce and pests had remained a major challenge in trade for horticultural products for both domestic and international markets.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development through the Horticultural Crops Directorate, Kenya Bureau of Standards, the horticulture industry, and other stakeholders established a Kenyan Standard dubbed KS 1758: 2015 & KS 1758: 2016.
The standard aims at addressing food safety and traceability along the agriculture value chain for fresh produce.