The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) is working with over 200 horticultural produce exporters to the European Union (EU) and Australian markets to formulate strategies to curb False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) pest which has led to rejection of the country’s products at international markets.
The Inspectorate’s Managing Director (MD), Dr. Esther Kimani says the False Codling Moth (FCM) is classified by the EU as a ‘quarantine pest’, meaning farms invaded by the pest are never allowed to sell their agricultural produce to the lucrative market.
“This is a major pest, because the larvae of the moth feed on a wide range of crops such as rose flowers, peppers, cotton, capsicum, macadamia nuts and citrus. The brown insect originated from Sub-Saharan Africa, but has also been detected in Europe and the US. It thrives under warm and humid conditions and can produce up to five generations annually. Although it has been around, FCM in now classified as an emerging pest because it is affecting chilli export from Kenya. The pest has also shifted to rose flowers causing major losses to growers” states Dr. Kimani.