Kakuzi starts avocado exports to China

Kakuzi Plc workers packaging avocados.

Kakuzi Plc workers packaging avocados. Kakuzi is set to ship out its first consignment of avocado to China, unlocking export revenue for local growers contracted by the company.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Avocado farmers contracted by Kakuzi earned Sh31.4 million from the agricultural firm in the year ended December.
  • In March this year, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocado, which was a departure from the previous directive in 2019 that required the country to provide only frozen fruit.

Listed agricultural firm Kakuzi will this weekend ship out its first consignment of avocado to China, unlocking export revenue for local growers contracted by the company.

Kakuzi yesterday said it was undertaking field harvests and pre-shipment preparations to the oriental market phytosanitary specifications and will ship out the test run consignment of Hass variety avocado, once the necessary sector approvals are secured from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis).

Kakuzi has received the green light from China to export the produce.

It is one of the 15 orchards, which has been approved by the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) to export fresh avocados to China.

"The field harvests started this (yesterday) 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," Kakuzi Managing Director, Mr Chris Flowers, said yesterday in a statement.

Farmers' earnings

Avocado farmers contracted by Kakuzi earned Sh31.4 million from the agricultural firm in the year ended December, a 45.6 per cent drop from Sh57.9 million the year before, attributed to lower export quantities and a decline in the price of the fruit in the international markets.

The number of avocado cartons sold fell to 94,064 in the review period from 154,858 a year earlier.

In March this year, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocado, which was a departure from the previous directive in 2019 that required the country to provide only frozen fruit.

However, the export plan has faced delays over several requirements including applying to Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, health and safety standards, and being free from any quarantine pests of concern to China.

Kephis early this week confirmed that the NPPO had approved 15 orchards, nine packhouses, and one fumigation facility, including Kakuzi's orchards and packhouses to export fresh avocado to China.

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