Spare our avocados the seven percent tax, Kenya pleads with China

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

Kenya now wants China to abolish a seven percent tax levied on exported avocado just a week after the country was allowed to start shipping the produce to the lucrative Asian market.

The tax, Kenya says, has a negative impact on the overall earnings of farmers from the export of the fruit. The levy, according to the regulator, will make Kenya’s produce less competitive in the market as it will be more expensive.

Head of Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito said China should consider removing the levy, just as it has done with other countries such as Peru.

“The seven percent import duty levied on Kenyan avocado exporters in China is high and eats into their earnings, and we want it to be suspended,” said Mr Tito.

Kenya started exporting avocado to China last week after years of waiting due to regulatory requirements that limited local farmers to only ship frozen fruits on fears that fresh ones would see the export of foreign pests to their country.

Last week, China cleared 15 firms for shipping avocado to their markets after the audit conducted by the Chinese agencies gave them a clean bill of health.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) said the 15 companies that were cleared are using nine-pack houses that have been approved by both the Chinese and Kenyan authorities to conduct the exports.

So far Kakuzi and Sunripe have become the first companies to export avocado to the Chinese market after receiving clearance from the regulator.

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