Tanzania bans Kenyan firm for buying unripe avocados

Avocado farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Tanzania has banned a Kenyan firm from purchasing avocados after the Ministry of Agriculture said it was engaging in illegal practices.

Kandia Fresh Company was barred from operating in Njombe, south-eastern Tanzania, after the firm was accused of purchasing premature fruits.

Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe said the company allegedly bought unripe avocados and dumped them at the Njombe Town Council dumpsite.

“If that company exists in the country, blacklist it immediately, cancel their permit,” said Mr Bashe.

He later ordered the arrest of the company’s employee, David Sifuna Barasa, who is said to have bought the avocados from middlemen without a permit.

Mr Barasa said the fruits had been harvested in good condition but poorly handled when questioned on why he bought unripe avocados.

The minister directed agricultural extension officers and other government officials to visit farms and stop the harvesting of unripe avocados.

Njombe District Commissioner Kissa Kasongwa said that two middlemen have also been arrested for crop cess evasion and purchase of produce without a government permit.

They were also fined Tsh300,000 ($12.82).

Avocado is quickly becoming Tanzania’s new green gold. According to the Tanzania Horticultural Association, the country exported over 11,237 tonnes of avocados worth $33 million in 2021.

It is expected to export 15,000 tonnes this year, thus generating $45 million in foreign currency. Figures show Europe imports 85 percent of Tanzanian avocado shipments. France imported the most, followed by the Netherlands and the UK.

This story was first published in The EastAfrican

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