The horticulture regulator has banned exports of Kenya’s popular avocado varieties to curb harvesting of immature crop.
Head of Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito says the ban on Fuerte and Hass varieties will be effected on November 15 with exceptions given to exporters who have the Jumbo type and those having off-season crop.
“The closing of Hass and Fuerte harvesting season for the 2021/2022 fiscal year shall be effected on November 15 to protect our overseas market,” said Mr Tito.
Mr Tito said exporters with the Jumbo variety, who are still allowed to ship out, will only do it by air and not sea with the size expected to be at least 184 grammes for a single fruit.
Dealers and companies with off-season crop shall request verification for inspection from HCD regional offices in writing within 24 hours as from November 15.
The review on when the ban will be lifted will be conducted on January 15 next year to ascertain the status of the crop.
The move by the regulator is aimed at curbing harvesting of immature crop following rampant cases of traders picking young crops previously to capitalise on high prices of the commodity at the international market.
Avocado has been a major contributor of the income from the horticulture earnings, raking in nearly half of the total returns from fruits.
The avocado season for these main varieties is expected to impact local prices as a shortage is expected in the market. Already, there have been price movement with a piece of the fruit now retailing at Sh30 from Sh20 previously.
According to the directorate, the review on the resumption of the export will be done on January 10 next year. Kenya’s avocado market in the Middle East was hit in 2018 following the export of low-quality crop to that continent.
The price of avocado to Dubai dropped by almost half in March 2018 as exports of immature crop hit the value.