Market News

Avocado exports resume after a four-month ban

avocado

Workers prepare a consignment of avocados for export at the Eldoret International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • The horticulture agency has lifted the ban on the export of avocado following the maturation of the fruits in farms, coming as a relief to farmers and exporters.
  • The Directorate of Horticulture allowed the resumption of export of Fuerte variety on February 15 followed by Hass on March 8 after close to a four month ban.

The horticulture agency has lifted the ban on the export of avocado following the maturation of the fruits in farms, coming as a relief to farmers and exporters.

The Directorate of Horticulture allowed the resumption of export of Fuerte variety on February 15 followed by Hass on March 8 after close to a four month ban.

The move also comes as a boost to foreign earnings as avocadoes account for half of the total returns from fruits exports due to high demand in the overseas market.

“We have resumed exports of the two main varieties of avocado to our different market destinations,” said the directorate.

The horticulture regulator had banned the export of the two popular avocado varieties in November last year to curb harvesting of immature crop.

The avocado season for these main varieties normally comes to an end at that time resulting in a shortage of the fruit in the country, pushing up the cost of the commodity.

Most of the consignment are currently heading to Europe, which is one of the Kenya’s major markets for avocados in terms of returns, with some exported to middle-east.

Only a few batches are exported to China as many exporters are is still working to meet the conditions set by the Chinese government to warrant the exports of these fruits in large quantities.

Since 2019 when the deal on resumption of avocado exports to China was reached, Kenya has only one trader who has been able to meet the export terms.

China demands that Kenyan exporters must freeze the fruits to -30 degrees Celsius after peeling off the skin and chill further to negative -18 degrees while on transit to the destination, meaning that exporters have to invest heavily in cold rooms to meet the requirement.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), which is overseeing the export of avocados, says the conditions set by China might bar small scale holders from accessing the market.