Kenya’s multi-million-dollar cut flower industry is being threatened by a new disease which has invaded the horticulture farms, warns the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).
A senior KEPHIS official, Hilda Miranyi, said Sunday the the disease, known as Bacterial Wilt, attacked mainly roses, and warned that it was spreading rapidly and might affect the quality of flowers being exported to Europe, the main market for Kenyan cut flowers.
She said the disease was first reported in the Netherlands in October last year and had been spreading at an alarming rate.
“This new threat is common in roses and these are flowers that we grow in large quantities, hence the need to protect them,” she added.
She said that there was a need for flower growers to check on their sanitation protocol as one way of ensuring the disease does not spread. They need to make sure that the water and soil they use is well treated and protected so as to help in minimizing the spread of the disease.”
She said Kenya had recorded progress in ensuring that all horticultural produce destined for the European market was safe and of quality standards. “We have made measures to ensure that anything that goes out of the country is thoroughly inspected before it reaches the markets.”