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EU increases checks on Kenya, Ethiopia roses to 25% on false codling moth fears

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The European Union (EU) has increased checks on cut roses from Kenya and Ethiopia to 25 per cent owing to fears of introduction into the EU of the false codling moth (FCM).

This follows discussions in Brussels between the European Commission and the 27 EU Member States on the risks posed by imports of cut flowers of roses for FCM or Thaumatotibia leucotreta and the appropriate EU regulatory measures.

The minimum frequency of plant health checks at EU borders on roses from the two East African nations will be increased to 25 per cent for both origin destinations (instead of 10% for Kenya and 5% for Ethiopia at the moment) and shall become applicable as of 1st May 2024.

In 2017, the False Coddling Moth was given quarantine status in the European Union (EU) due to its frequency in flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other crops. This meant that European countries were obligated to inspect 10 per cent of Kenyan roses for FCM.

Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) has been advised that the EU Member States representatives, meeting with the EU Commission in the EU Standing Committee SCOPAFF earlier this month, have now formally adopted the anticipated changes to the minimum percentage of plant health import inspections (identity and physical checks) at EU borders of consignments of cut roses from Kenya and Ethiopia.

The legal text is now expected to be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after publication. FPEAK will disseminate the official EU publication as soon as it is available.

Discussions continue within the EU Standing Committee on further regulatory measures to be adopted by the EU, in particular a requirement for a systems approach to be put in place under the full responsibility of the National Plant Protection Authorities (NPPOs) in rose exporting countries where FCM is known to occur.

According to the Dutch Ministry for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, cut flowers are Kenya’s second largest export after tea, contributing around one per cent of the country’s GDP. The country supplies one-third of roses sold in the EU. The flower industry is also amongst Kenya’s largest employers with over 200,000 people working directly in the flower industry and an estimated four million indirectly.

About 2 billion roses are exported from Kenya to the Netherlands where they are sold at the flower auction in Aalsmeer to mostly Germany, the UK, and France.

The Dutch Government, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), and the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) run joint efforts to educate rose growers on how to detect and control the False Coddling Moth pest.

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