KEPHIS Headquarters, Karen – Kenya’s fresh produce to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should be free of the Fall Armyworm, exporters have been advised. At a recent meeting on the recent change in the market’s requirements, exporters were urged to ensure that their produce is strictly free of the pest.

This was during a one day consultative forum held at KEPHIS headquarters where more than 20 fresh produce exporters among them Keitt Exporters, Sun Ripe Val, Flora Times Kenya, Victoria Imports, Athi Farm, Freight Wings and Subati Group converged to learn about the recent changes in the UAE market.
In his remarks, the GM Phytosanitary Services Dr. Isaac Macharia assured exporters ‘full support’ from KEPHIS and urged them to safeguard the Arab market by fully complying with its regulations and standards to avoid interceptions and rejections. He also warned against criminal activities such as acquiring fake documents and smuggling of illegal commodities.

KEPHIS Phytosanitary Services GM Dr. Isaac Macharia opening discussions on the changes of the UAE market requirements

“As a State Corporation, we are here to support you by ensuring that you are well familiar with all foreign market requirements and strictly adhere to regulations. When you fail to comply with the set rules for a particular market, KEPHIS has to stand in for you, carrying all the burden as it is the one that first receives interceptions and rejections notices, “he said.
Moreover, he urged growers to acquire and apply knowledge on identifying and managing pests especially such as the Fall Army Worm which has led to interceptions of different produce in the recent past in other countries.
According to the notification, Kenyan fresh produce exporters ought to declare produce free from the Fall Army Worm and this should be accompanied with a fumigation certificate indicating the treatment used to fight the pest which should be declared on the phytosanitary certificate. Also, post-harvest measures applied need to be clearly declared.

Fall Army Worm (Spodoptera frugiperda) effect on cabbage leaves and tomatoes

In identifying the pest, exporters were informed on its symptoms and how it causes damage to plants as well as its physical features such as its body shape.It was noted that the pest exhibits a complete metamorphosis life cycle which starts from the egg stage, larva, pupa and finally the adult stage upon which they were taught on identifying all these stages.
On management, they were advised to regularly monitor their farms for timely action through scouting and use of synthetically manufactured pheromone traps. The exporters were urged to apply appropriate planting practices, mechanical control, restrict movement of infested plant materials and use registered pesticides when need be.
The Fall Army Worm continues to threaten Kenya’s and Africa’s food production leading to not only a food insecure nation but also interceptions and rejections of Kenyan produce in the international markets. KEPHIS and other organizations are committed to engaging all players in the field through trainings, workshops, conferences and field days to eliminate the pest.

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