False Colding Moth eats into chili pepper farmers profits
If there’s anything that is giving fresh chili pepper farmers sleepless nights in Kenya, it’s the False Codling Moth (FCM).
FCM is currently causing havoc in various chili farms in the country eating into the farmers’ profits. Even though the pest also destroys other crops like avocados, pineapples, mangoes and citrus, their devastating effect is mostly felt in the chilies.
Despite the challenges faced in accessing the market due to newly found harmful organisms in chilies, the farmers are not ready to give up.
According to Daniel Agawo of Mboga Tuu Ltd General Manager, one of the leading growers and exporters of chili pepper in Kenya, their chances of accessing the European market is shrinking by the day.
“Exporting our produce to Europe which is the number one consumer of our chilies is under threat due to restrictions over the quarantine pest popularly known as False Codling Moth (FCM), but we won’t give up yet, we cannot afford to,” explains Agawo.
Mboga Tuu Ltd harvests 10 to 15 tonnes of chilies weekly from its 400 acres of land with the United Kingdom and Norway topping the list of its target destinations.
“UK takes 90 per cent of our produce and in a week we export 8 to 12 tonnes. Currently we do not sell our produce locally, our focus is on exports,” adds Agawo.
Some of the varieties that Mboga Tuu Ltd farms have are short, long and thin chilies, Bandai and serenade chilies and the average price per kilogram currently is £2.5.
From Agawo’s point of view, the Kenyan Government has a lot to do in ensuring the chili pepper farmers get more access to the European market.
“We wish the government could make good use of its agencies such as the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and the Ministry of Agriculture and Trade in lobbying against strict EU regulations, this is one of the nightmares we have to grapple with every day,” explains Agawo.
For more information:
Mboga Tuu Ltd