Avocado farmers finally gear to export to China

Avocado farmers in Kenya are looking to finally export to China, following the move to clear 15 firms after an audit gave them a clean bill of health.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) said the 15 firms have been cleared and they will use nine-pack houses that have been approved by both the Chinese and Kenyan authorities for exports.

Listed agribusiness firm Kakuzi PLC has commenced the field harvesting and pre-shipment preparation for an inaugural Hass variety avocado consignment to be shipped out to China this weekend.

The field harvesting that kicked off is part of the firm’s systems trial following the confirmation by government regulatory agencies that China has now provided the greenlight for fresh avocado exports to the market.

Kakuzi will be seeking to explore and unlock the export opportunity of locally grown fresh avocados for their ever-increasing consumer demand for this superfood.

KEPHIS confirmed that the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had approved fifteen (15) orchards, nine (9) packhouses and one (1) fumigation facility, including Kakuzi’s orchards and packhouses to export fresh avocado to China.

The approval has taken over three years at China introduced stringent measurements, requiring Kenya to only export frozen Avocado.

Speaking when he confirmed the field harvests and pre-shipment preparation to the Chinese market phytosanitary specifications, Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Mr. Chris Flowers said the firm is planning to ship out the test run consignment this weekend once the necessary pre-shipment approvals are secured from KEPHIS.

The test run involving field harvests, post-harvest packaging and phytosanitary management per Chinese phytosanitary protocols, Mr. Flowers said, will enable Kakuzi to fine-tune its internal processes in conjunction with the shipping and related agencies.

“The field harvests have started this morning, and we hope to prepare the first consignment to be shipped to China this weekend. In this trial phase, we intend to test the entire system capacity and fix any challenges between ourselves, the phytosanitary protocols facility and KEPHIS ahead of the planned larger shipments before the end of the next quarter,” Mr. Flowers said.

The export of fresh avocados to China follows the early January signing of two protocols to facilitate bilateral trade, mainly the export of avocados and aquatic products from Kenya to China. Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Peter Munya and the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Zhou Pingjian signed the protocols in Mombasa.

The agreement gives specific import requirements based on a systems approach strategy and post-harvest treatment (fumigation with methyl bromide) for managing nine quarantine pests of concern to China.


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