Kwa Kathoka, Makueni County – A campaign dubbed Komesha!Fruit Fly Ufaidike has been launched in Makueni County with the purpose of improving the production and quality of mangoes in the area.

The campaign, which is set to run for two years, is aimed at ensuring that Kenyan mangoes meet the standards that have been set by importing markets such as the European Union market.

KEPHIS in partnership with the County Government of Makueni, Feed the Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market, Rockefeller Foundation, Technoserve, United Nations International Development Organization, mango researchers, traders and innovators spearheaded the campaign against the fruit fly.

Speaking at Kwa Kathoka ATC grounds in Makueni, Dr. Oscar Magenya, representing the PS Agriculture stated that they would be establishing at least one modern pack house that would be fitted with hot water treatment equipment to deal with the issues of post-harvest losses.

He further advised the mango farmers, that in order to reap the benefits of adopting to the appropriate technologies, they had to work together. He added that Good Agricultural Practices would go a long way in increasing their farm produce and they would have high quality mangoes hence increasing their income.

Makueni Governor, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, said that this campaign was necessary as the fruit fly had cost them huge losses both locally and abroad. He therefore called on farmers to work together and put into practice what they had been taught, and what they will continue to learn so as to regain the lucrative EU market that we lost due to interceptions of mango brought about by the fruit fly.

KEPHIS GM of Phytosanitary Services, Dr. Isaac Macharia began by announcing that 2020 had been declared as the International Year of Plant Health and it sought to provide a platform to raise awareness on the importance of plant health in addressing global issues such as hunger and poverty.Therefore the Komesha Fruit Fly Campaign was in line with the phytosanitary theme for the year.

He mentioned that fruit flies are serious pests that damage over 200 types of fruits and vegetables and Kenya in turn losses about KES 50 billion annually due to the pest. He stated that a pest free area is a geographical area, under which a specific pest does not occur or has been completely eradicated and can be demonstrated by scientific evidence and in which, where appropriate, this condition is being officially maintained.

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KEPHIS, the County Government of Makueni and other stakeholders in the mango value chain have been working to create pest free areas and other integrated pest management strategies aimed at mitigating the fruit fly pest in mangoes.

The fruit fly is a notorious pest that wrecks havoc in the fruit making it impossible to export. So, in the coming days, we aim to educate and inform our stakeholders though this platform on mango production and the importance to Kenya’s economy.

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