A ban on Tanzania’s bitter gourd exports to the European Union (EU) countries has lifted, clearing the way for the fruit to access its sprawling markets.
EU Commission in Nov 2022, reported had detected an incidence of quarantine pest hosted in Tanzania’s Momordica Charantia (bitter gourd), warranting a blanket ban on the bitter gourd crop exports into EU markets.
It was against that backdrop that Tanzania was required to present before the EU the pest surveillance report proving the absence of Thrips Palmi Karny for it to be allowed to export the fruit to the EU markets.
As it happened, the horticulture industry champion, TAHA through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded Horticulture Transformation for Inclusive Growth (HOTI-GRO) had to intervene, working closely with Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA) in conducting pests surveillance in all bitter gourd producing areas in Tanzania.
TAHA’s chief executive officer, Dr. Chief Jacquiline Mkindi explained that her organization in collaboration with TPHPA had to collect samples from the bitter ground growers for laboratory tests to verify whether they gave Thrips Palmi Karnly or not.
“Luckily the outcomes of the laboratory test showed that Tanzania is free from Trips Palmi Karnly and that the bitter gourds are produced in an area that is free from Spondopterafrugaperdia”, said Dr. Mkindi.
Subsequently, the scientific report was presented to the EU for their consideration to lifting the restriction on the export of Tanzania’s grown bitter gourd fruit to its market.
“After a thorough evaluating of Tanzania’s pests surveillance report, the Plant Health Unit under the European Commission declared Tanzania to be eligible to export bitter gourd fruit to the EU under condition (a) of point 71 of Annex VII Commission Implementating Regulation (EU) 2019/2072”, Said Dr Mkindi.
EU Commission applauded Tanzania for reaching the important milestone in the phytosanitary certification systems in compliance with the EU phytosanitary requirements.