Avocado farmers in Kenya are a disappointed lot after it has emerged that the Kenya-China Avocado deal has more than meets the eye.
Avocado farmers are calling for an avocado deal signed between Kenya and China to be reviewed. The farmers have complained of terms set in the deal which seem to be making it impossible for them to access the Chinese market.
The conditions set for the exportation of the fruit include farmers having to install machines and coolers to peel and freeze avocados.
The farmers feel it is a way for China to keep off most Kenyan farmers since they know the machinery they demand is not only unaffordable to the majority of farmers but is beyond reach.
The China-Kenya deal also requires that avocado farmers and traders freeze their avocados to negative 30 degree Celsius after peeling and chill to a further negative 18 degrees Celsius during transit.
The deal that had avocado farmers in Kenya celebrating as the rest congratulated the President seems not to be all rosy as is suspected of all Chinese deals.
Farmers are hence calling upon the Government to have the measures relaxed to allow more farmers to participate in the market. Failure to have the deal relaxed is likely to collapse exportation as most avocado farmers are small-scale farmers.
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) will supervise the exportation of avocados to China and shares in the concerns of the farmers adding that the deals set conditions will end up limiting small-scale farmers from accessing the market.
Avocado farming has gone viral amongst farmers with some even uprooting their coffee plantations to participate in the China-Kenya deal.
The Ministry of Agriculture has even gone further to circulate avocado seedlings to farmers across the Country and, the-now public, conditions of the fruit deal among the two Countries is likely to cause fear and confusion among farmers.
Avocado farming requires a lot of water and the plant has been claimed to result in very dry conditions due to its heavy consumption of water. It is yet to be seen whether the Government will intervene and review its deal with China.