Australia Exporters Consultative Meeting

Exporters Consultative Meeting to Discuss Changes in Requirements for Export of Cut Flowers to Australia


KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi - 100 stakeholders attended a consultative meeting to discuss changes in requirements for the export of cut flowers to Australia.

Ms. Hellen Mwarey, the Technical Personal Assistant to the MD chaired the meeting, appreciating the need for exporters to understand and work on meeting the standards set by the Australian market. She stated that the sovereignty of a country allows it to impose regulations to protect its territory from danger. Hence, Australia had the right to protect their country from the introduction of injurious foreign pests that could harm their agricultural resources.

Ms. Hellen Mwarey, the Technical Personal Assistant to the MD, explaining the importance of pest control on cut flowers during the Australia exporters consultative meeting held at KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi

Ms. Faith Ndunge, KEPHIS Head of Phytosanitary Services, said that Kenya is ranked fourth as a major cut flower exporter in the world. “Kenya is the leading exporter of cut flowers to Australia, exporting 30 tonnes monthly. Our good climatic conditions favor the growth of flowers as well as the low cost of production involved in labour and farm inputs,” she said. She, however, added that the compliance levels are not ‘as good’ as most consignments are intercepted due to pests such as thrips, moths and mites. She added that proposed measures by Australia to control pests include Fumigation (by Methyl Bromide), System Approach and chemical treatment (through dipping or fogging).

Ms. Faith Ndunge, Head of Phytosanitary Services, educating the exporters on Kenya strengths in the Australia market during the Australia exporters consultative meeting held at KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi

Mr. Clement Tulezi, CEO Kenya Flower Council encouraged exporters to diversify and not rely on the European Union market, but also identify other markets such as Australia. He urged exporters to use dipping as a method of pest control because that is what is effective currently.

Mr. Clement Tulezi, CEO Kenya Flower Council, urging exporters to diversify to other markets and identify other methods of safe pest control during the Australia exporters consultative meeting held at KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi

Mr. Scott Solder, representative from Australia Flowers Traders Association, highlighted that other countries exporting to Australia face similar challenges, due to the zero pest tolerance requirements on what they import. “We would not want to lose Kenya as an exporter as it is one of the best producers that we are highly dependent on,” he said. Other countries such as Colombia and Ecuador are using fumigation to destroy the pests and the method seems to be working. He insisted that after all post-harvest processes, one should carry out inspections in order to know the status of the product before sending it to the customer.

Ms. Faith Ndunge later chaired the discussions where people were free to ask questions and give suggestions to find a way forward. Most of the exporters wanted to know how they could get their documents that would show their individual level of non-compliance as per company. They also wanted to know how dipping works and its effectiveness.

Mr. Solder explained the elements of good dipping process, which include: the chemical used in dipping must be registered with Pest Control Products Board (PCPB); whereby the chemical used should not have been used in the field as a pesticide spray as the pests develop resistance; it must be a knock-down chemical with its effectiveness taking place within hours; it must be phytotoxic; it needs good coverage and the use of anti-fungal for the drying process which reinforces flowers to resist post-harvest disease.



Mr. Scott Solder, representative from Australia Flowers Traders Association, explaining the elements of a good dipping system during the Australia exporters consultative meeting held at KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi.

For the way forward, it was agreed that KEPHIS will write to growers and exporters who have met the export to Australia requirements requesting for consent to share and educate other exporters on what measures and technologies they use to comply with export requirements. Fumigation was identified as a long term solution to pest control and management. Those interested in using fumigation as a pest control measure were advised to register with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and PCPB, after which KEPHIS would take them through the fumigation protocol. Exporters were urged to start applying for permits, in order to know their eligibility status. After 1st September, any late applications will result in one not exporting to Australia.

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