Mauritius lifts ban on Kenyan produce

 Uhuru Kenyatta and Mauritian Prime Minister Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mauritian Prime Minister Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth witness the signing of agreement between the two countries at the Receptorium of the National Assembly, Port Louis. PHOTO | PSCU | NMG. 

Mauritius has lifted a three-year ban on Kenyan avocado after Kenya improved on the hygiene standards with the Mauritian authorities, offering relief to local exporters in the country.

Kenya lost the market in 2015 after the Mauritian National Plant Protection Office cited low standards of hygiene.

Kenya is estimated to produce about 200,000 tons of the fruit a year, selling nearly a quarter of it to countries such as South Africa and Qatar.

“The ban on avocadoes, baby carrots, baby beans and broccoli was lifted during bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth,” said a statement from State House Wednesday.

“Lifting of the ban by Mauritius will help improve Kenya's export to the Indian Ocean Island country and is a major boost for horticultural farmers in the country especially women who are the majority in the sector,” said the statement.


Right chemicals

Kenya is however expected to maintain high standards before the two countries can start trading again.

This includes applying the right type of chemicals on the fruit.

The fruit will also have to meet specific storage and transportation conditions by the Mauritian National Plant Protection Office.

Conditions on insect and disease infestation as well as certifications to prove the produce is from Kenya will also be required.

“As part of the arrangement, Kenyan authorities will continue to work with Mauritian counterparts on implementing the conditions,” said the statement.

In the past, Kenyan avocados and fruits were not allowed into countries such as South Africa as safety conditions imposed by public health authorities were not met.

More markets

Kenya has been searching for more markets for its avocados following rising interest by farmers in growing more trees.

The move by Mauritius comes less than six months after the Chinese government opened its doors to Kenya's fresh produce.