Listed agriculture firm Sasini #ticker:SASN has welcomed the government’s move to temporarily suspend the export of avocados, saying the decision will prevent shipment of immature fruit.
The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) banned avocado exports for a month following a severe shortage that has raised prices of the fruit to a three-and-a-half-year high.
The AFA said the shortage of popular varieties Fuerte and Hass, which are off-season, has seen some traders export immature fruits to reap from high international demand.
Sasini, which recently expanded into avocado farming, is supporting the ban saying it will lock out low quality fruit which can ruin the export market.
“Avocados mature in March and the high season continues until around September,” Stephen Githiga, Sasini’s managing director, told the Business Daily in a telephone interview.
“However, some people ship out immature crop in pursuit of high returns. The net effect of this is that we have bad fruits in the market. This could lead to avocado from Kenya being blacklisted. The ban is a necessary safeguard.”
Sasini, which primarily grows coffee and tea, has set aside 200 acres to grow avocado in Nandi and Sotik but has for the past six months been exporting fruits sourced from independent farmers.