Avocado exports to China earn Kenya Sh7bn in three months

Avocados for export. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya’s exports of avocado to China hit Sh7 billion in three months to October exceeding the earnings that were realised in the first seven months of the year, highlighting the importance of the Asian market, which started importing the commodity in August.

In comparison, the country earned Sh6 billion from avocado exports to China between January and July, according to the horticulture regulator.

Head of Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito said Kenya has exported 1.7 million kilogrammes of avocado since it was allowed to ship fresh produce to the Asian giant this year.

Mr Tito said they are still scouting for more markets for the fruit to capitalise on the high demand that Kenya’s produce has created.

“The fact that the country has earned Sh7 billion on exports of avocados to the Chinese market in three months means that China presents a great opportunity for our farmers,” said Mr Tito.

Kenya started exporting avocados to China in August after many years of waiting, occasioned by regulatory requirements by the authorities in Beijing.

The country has for long been seeking the Chinese market but there was a requirement that Kenya would only be allowed to ship frozen fruits as opposed to a fresh one.

The logistics involved and the lack of necessary infrastructure delayed access to the Chinese market since the agreement was reached between Kenya and China in 2019.

Chief executive officer of Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Ojepat Okisegere said authorities should now ensure compliance with the required minimum levels of chemicals and pests on exports to ensure that the country’s fresh produce is not intercepted for non-compliance.

In March, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocado, which was a departure from the previous directive that required the country to export only frozen fruit.

“We should ensure that there is compliance with the market requirements so that our exports are not intercepted for not meeting the set standards,” said Mr Okisegere.

Producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocados to China have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered 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.

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