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Commodities

Agency clears Hass avocados for early export

Avocado harvesting
Avocado harvesting has been limited in Kenya’s coffee zones. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Directorate of Horticulture has opened the doors for Hass avocado exports 15 days earlier than planned, but with stringent conditions.

The regulator said in a notice that a survey indicated almost a quarter of the fruits have matured.

The ban in harvesting and export of avocado was issued in November last year with the shipment set to start at the end of this month.

“The directorate has reviewed the performance of Hass Avocado in the field and has noted that the fruits have attained a good size and close to 25 percent have reached maturity dates,” said the watchdog.

“The directorate hereby reviews the opening dates for Hass avocado variety.”

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The Directorate, however, has limited the harvesting to avocados in coffee zones, which have demonstrated maturity with tea zones expected to open the harvesting on April 1.

The regulator has also warned traders against harvesting and packing small fruits until it gives further notice. As such, exporters will be required to demonstrate maturity before shipping out.

The directorate will also sample all consignments for maturity at the packing facility before being cleared for exports, with exporters required to provide an email notice 24 hours before shipment.

So far the directorate has lifted the ban on Fuerte variety with exports resuming last month.

The moratorium on harvest and export was put in place to protect Kenya’s export market from low quality crop.

Kenya’s avocado market in the Middle-East was hit in 2018 year following the export of low quality crop, with the price of avocado to Dubai dropping almost by a half in March 2018.

The Directorate of Horticulture indicated the price of a unit of avocado dropped from 35 dirhams (Sh945) previously to 16 dirhams (Sh432) in March.

This resulted from immature avocados exported to Dubai by unscrupulous businessmen following high demand of the fruit in the world market.

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