Agricultural firm Kakuzi #ticker:KUKZ has sought approval to start exports of avocado to the lucrative Chinese market after the regulator announced that Kenyan exporters will be allowed to ship out fresh fruits to the Asian country.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) says it has audited Kakuzi as the company seeks to process and prepare export-grade fresh avocados for the Chinese market.
Kephis managing director Theophilus Mutui confirmed to the Business Daily that the agency has audited the company and the final results and approval are yet to be issued.
“Kakuzi is one of the 10 firms that we have so far audited in the ongoing process of approving firms that will be eligible to export fresh avocado to China,” said Prof Mutui.
He said that after the auditing has been completed and all firms meet the required standards, then their names will be sent to China as certified exporters for the exports of fresh avocado.
Kakuzi’s managing director Chris Flowers said that the firm’s locally produced fruits meet the global standard as it has continued to invest in globally benchmarked staff training and production facilities and practices.
"We recently were subjected to a series of random and procedural inspections by Kephis,” Mr Flowers said.
The auditing process comes hardly a month after China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocado, which is a departure from the previous directive that required the country to export only frozen fruit.
Kephis has been undertaking facility audits to ensure the integrity of local pack houses earmarked to provide packaging solutions for avocado exports.
The deal to export avocado to China was agreed in April 2019 between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping but China required Kenya to export only frozen avocado, which majority of exporters could manage owing to the high cost involved.
The directive saw only one firm out of over 100 meet the requirements laid down by the Chinese six months later after Nairobi and Beijing signed the deal.
Producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocado to China have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kephis as one of the conditions to access that market.
All the fresh avocado fruits meant for export must also comply with applicable Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, health and safety standards and be free from any quarantine pests of concern to China.