The European Union provides the biggest market for Kenya’s exports. Fruit flies are one of the phytosanitary pests that cause devastating effects on fruits. Previously, mangoes were one of the most exported fruit from Kenya. For a long time, Kenya has been exporting processed and unprocessed mangoes to international markets such as the European Union. However, the exportation of unprocessed mangoes to the European Union has been stopped due to the presence of fruit flies. Fruit infestation by exotic and native pests has facilitated to reduced market access, affecting family incomes and foreign exchange negatively.
Phytosanitary rules aim to protect European forestry and agriculture by preventing the entry of non-native pests and diseases. Due to climate change, pests can easily survive in Europe. It was hence important to update the existing rules to curb the increased risks and to put uniform rules across the Member states of the European Union. To prevent the entry of pests into the EU states, a new plant health regulation (EU) 2016/2031 has already come into operation. Those who exporting horticultural products such as fruits and vegetables must take strict measures to comply with the new rules. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states that the rules are aimed at simplifying, modernizing, and improving the existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain. Smarter rules show that efficient pest and disease control measures must be enforced.
Plant health is essential for the protection of the EU’s forests, nature, plant production, and biodiversity. The regulation (EU)2016/2031 emphasizes on effectively mitigating phytosanitary risks. Currently, there are some plants whose phytosanitary risks have to be thoroughly assessed.
The new European Union regulation improves traceability and brings changes in the classification of plant pests
According to the new rules, pests are classified as either priority pests which are harmful pests that rarely occur in the European Union, protected zone quarantine pests which are only seen in certain regions in the EU, and Union quarantine pests which occur in most parts of the EU. There are degrading pests such as proliferation disease that reduce the quantity of the crop and weaken its quality which can cause massive losses. To prevent the entry of pests in the EU, a phytosanitary certificate will be required for fresh plants such as vegetables and fruits.
A certificate will be required for all fruits and vegetables except for coconut, banana, dates, and pineapple. High-risk products must be thoroughly inspected by EFSA to determine the conditions in which they must be imported. Phytosanitary certification is also required for cut flowers, seeds, grain products, cut trees and branches, and hop bales.
National Plant Health Act
The new plant health legislation that came into effect on 14th December lays down the provisions for supplementing the plant health regulation. These rules will help in enforcing effective measures to protect the EU’s plants and territories and in the process modernizing the plant health regime. Compared to the current legislation, notable changes are on the import of plants from outside the EU, self monitoring, the use of plant passports, and the classification of plant pests. These changes will have a significant impact on the exporters, farmers and importers.
The high percentage
of the quarantined codling moth pest in chili from Kenya has forced the
European Union to stop importing it from Kenya. Exporters and farmers have to
employ a costly mechanism to control the pest and meet the requirements for the
lucrative market. This means that they should create a pest-free zone or export
dry chili. Since a thorough assessment is done on all products, the presence of
pests, especially the regulated ones will make the EU authorities to apply
serious consequences to the exporters.