China ready with avocado exports audit, says agency

A man spreads out his avocado produce at Keumbu market on August 19, 2021. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NMG

The Chinese crops agency has concluded the audit of Kenya’s avocado and pack houses, raising hopes of Kenyan farmers and plantations starting exports to the lucrative Asian market soon.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) general manager Phytosanitary services Isaac Macharia says the audit was completed mid-last month and they are awaiting a response from the authorities in Beijing.

Kephis had completed an inspection of the firms that had applied for licences to export the fruits to China in May, however, the process could not begin as the Chinese introduced another requirement, hence the audit.

“We are now waiting for the findings after the Chinese finished the process of auditing the farms and the pack house last month,” said Dr Macharia.

He said Kenya will know when they can start exporting avocado to China once the report is out in the coming weeks.

“If the response will be positive then we shall start the exports to the Chinese market immediately,” he said.

This comes at a time some of the farms that had been audited have raised concerns over the delay by Kephis to communicate to them the outcome of the audit that they had conducted earlier, with the agency saying the new requirement by Chinese is what has delayed the exercise.

The exporters have been waiting for the last three years to start shipping to China in vain after the Asian country required Kenya to export only frozen avocados.

However, in March this year, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocado, offering relief and more room.

Producers and exporters who export fresh avocado to China will ensure that all their farms, pack houses, and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kephis as one of the new conditions.

All the fresh avocados being exported must also comply with Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, safety standards, and be free from quarantine pests.

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