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How to control the False Coding Moth pest that causes rejection of fresh produce in international markets

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Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Department reports that 17 out of 29 rejections of horticultural produce in the international market in the last three years is due to the False Codling Moth (FCM).

The pest attacks pepper, avocado, citrus, macadamia, mangoes and cotton among other crops. The larvae burrow at the stem end into the fruit and feeds on it damaging the fruits’ tissue and diminishing its marketability.

Signs of the disease are brown spots on the affected fruit, dark brown residue from the larvae and molds. Premature ripening and dropping of fruits also occur with infestations. However, Infestations can be difficult to detect in peaches when fruit is still firm and on the tree. This poses a threat to industry because potentially infested fruit could be sold prior knowledge of its presence.

According to Greenlife Protection Africa, an agrochemical company, LEXUS 247SC 8ml/20l, KINGCODE ELITE 50EC 10ml/20l, PRESENTO 200SP 5ml/20l, PROFILE 440EC 30ml/20l, SINOPHATE 750SP 20g/20l, ESCORT 19EC 10ml/20l, LEGACY 50EC 15ml/20l, PENTAGON 50EC 10ml/20l and TRUMPET 200SC 20ml/20l are some of the insecticides that can be used to control the pest.

The pest can also be controlled biologically by using BACIGUARD 16WDG 15g/20l, an insecticide that multiplies bacteria on the False Coding Moth body thus eliminating it.

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Another method is use of the sterile insect technique. This involves releasing large numbers of sterile males into the land and on mating with females there would be no offspring.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service for instance, last week held a consultative meeting with over 200 exporters to the European Union (EU) and Australian markets at its headquarters whose aim was to come up with ways to curb pests of concern to those markets.

KEPHIS MD Dr. Esther Kimani noted that the False Codling Moth (FCM) is still a challenge that needs urgent attention from all stakeholders so as to preserve the markets.

“The FCM is a pest of concern and we need to understand the necessity of mitigating it,” she said.

Eric Were, the officer In-charge at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport took the exporters through compliance levels in the Australian market.

KEPHIS formulated action points for the Australian market and these included registration of farms accredited to Australia, consolidators to provide a list of the farms they source from and provide a detailed report for each farm, develop a compliance datasheet to be filled and signed by exporters committing themselves that cut flowers delivered at JKIA for exit inspection is complying and developing data to show the number of consignments inspected, complying and those complying (indicate the pest detected) from each inspector.

Kenya is among the largest exporters of roses in the world with 38 per cent market share of the EU market which included Netherlands, France, Germany, and Norway. From the total horticultural export in 2018, cut flower earnings grew to 73 per cent from 71 per cent in 2017.

He urged them to reduce interceptions by having correct documentation, have all documentation such as additional declarations, having correct consignee addresses and complete plant passport.

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