China clears 15 Kenyan traders to export avocado


Avocados for export. FILE PHOTO | NMG

China has cleared 15 firms to export avocado into its vast market after an audit gave them a clean bill of health.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) said the 15 farms have been cleared and they will use nine-pack houses that have been approved by both the Chinese and Kenyan authorities to conduct the exports.

Kephis confirmed to the Business Daily that Sunripe, a fresh produce exporter was the first one to ship the consignment of avocado to China on Monday last week, followed by Kakuzi PLC on Saturday.

“I can confirm that the audits by the Chinese have cleared the Kenyan firms to export the avocado to China,” said Isaac Macharia, General Manager, Phytosanitary services.

Kakuzi said they had commenced the field harvesting and pre-shipment preparation for an inaugural Hass variety avocado consignment, which was shipped out to China last weekend (this weekend).

“ this trial phase, we intend to test the entire system capacity and fix any challenges between ourselves, the phytosanitary protocols facility and Kephis ahead of the planned larger shipments before the end of the next quarter," said Kakuzi managing director Chris Flowers said.

Kephis had completed an inspection of the firms that had applied for licenses to export the fruits to China in May, however, the process could not begin as the Chinese introduced another requirement that would see them carry out a different audit.

The exporters have been waiting for the last three years to start exporting to the Chinese market in vain after China put in place stringent measures, which required Kenya to only export the frozen crop.

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

Producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocados to China will now have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kephis as one of the new 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.

They will also be required to apply Good Agricultural Practices and maintain proper sanitary conditions as well as implement Integrated Pest Management programs, which include pest monitoring, chemical and biological control and any other pest control operations.

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