Avocado exports to China earn Kenya 7 billion shillings in three months


Avocado exports to China earn Kenya 7 billion shillings in three months

Avocados for export. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya’s avocado exports to China hit 7 billion shillings in the three months to October, surpassing profits made in the first seven months of the year, underscoring the importance of the Asian market, which started to import the product in August.

By comparison, the country earned 6 billion shillings from avocado exports to China between January and July, according to the horticulture regulator.

Horticulture chief executive Benjamin Tito said Kenya had exported 1.7 million kilograms of avocados since being allowed to ship fresh produce to the Asian giant this year.

Mr Tito said they are always looking for new markets for the fruit to capitalize on the strong demand created by Kenyan produce.

“The fact that the country has earned 7 billion shillings from avocado exports to the Chinese market in three months means that China represents a great opportunity for our farmers,” Tito said.

Kenya began exporting avocados to China in August after many years of delay caused by regulatory requirements from authorities in Beijing.

The country has been seeking the Chinese market for a long time, but it was demanded that Kenya be allowed to ship only frozen fruit rather than fresh fruit.

The logistics involved and the lack of necessary infrastructure have delayed access to the Chinese market since the agreement reached between Kenya and China in 2019.

The chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, Ojepat Okisegere, said authorities should now ensure compliance with minimum required levels of chemicals and pests on exports to ensure the country’s fresh produce is not intercepted for noncompliance.

In March, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocados, which was a waiver of the previous directive that required the country to export only frozen fruit.

“We need to ensure that market requirements are met so that our exports are not intercepted for not meeting set standards,” Okisegere said.

Growers and exporters wishing to export fresh avocados to China must ensure that all their production farms, packing plants and fumigation processing facilities are registered as one of the conditions for accessing this market.

All fresh avocado fruit for export must also comply with applicable Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, health and safety standards and be free from any quarantine pests of concern to China.

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