Avocado traders set for Chinese market boost start of year

A trader selling avocados at Kangemi market in Nairobi.
A trader selling avocados at Kangemi market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan traders are eyeing a deal that will allow avocado traders to export their fruits directly to China by January next year.

Kenya signed the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement in China that has set in motion the establishment of protocols that will allow both countries to inspect specific products and permit their exportation.

Kenya signed a deal concluding the protocol for the exportation of sweetener stevia to China this Monday and is next expecting inspectors from China in December to approve avocados so that they can become available for export to the country.

Kenya exported $77.997 million (Sh7.8bn) worth of avocados in 2017, beating South Africa to become Africa’s biggest exporter.

This value was 22 per cent higher than the exports in 2016.


“Our other important aim for being in China was again to conclude bilateral negotiations for market access for products from Kenya. It is a process that has been going on but we wanted to be able to accelerate that process to conclude the agreements that are required so that our products, especially agro products, can be sold in China,” said the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives CS Peter Munya at the opening ceremony of the China-Kenya Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition on Wednesday.

The ministry said plans were under way to establish bilateral priority list to be fast tracked for products such as macadamia, groundnuts, flowers, fruits, horticulture and meat. Kenya has also established a technical working Group that will engage China on trade barriers such as high custom duty and visa acquisition for Kenyans.

Most goods face four per cent duty when exported to China while duty on avocados could be as high as 40 per cent, according to Mr Munya.

Kenyan products are, therefore, more expensive compared to those of its neighbours that enjoy duty-free access to the Chinese market because the World Trade Organisation classifies them as less developed economies.

This has necessitated the special bilateral agreements between China and Kenya.