With the introduction of new high-potential markets such as China, Kenya has been expecting a growth in the value of horticultural exports, occasioning a positive economic ripple effect. This now looks like a dream come true as Kenyan avocados fetch better prices in the vast Chinese market.
A kilogram of the fruit in China is now fetching $8 (Sh970) when compared to the $6 (Sh729) offered by the traditional European market.
“China is now paying the highest price and this is likely to go up in the coming days as we continue to grow our exports to that market,” Ojepat Okisegere chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) said.
Kenya started exporting avocado to China last month following a health inspectorate that cleared 15 Kenyan firms to enter the Chinese market.
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. In March, China allowed Kenya to start exporting fresh produce. Shipping of the commodity to china would have commenced in May but it was not possible as China wanted to conduct a different audit.
In a recent communique to stakeholders, KEPHIS Managing Director, Prof Theophilus Mutui, said that the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had approved the commencement of fresh avocado fruits exports from Kenya to China following the completion of a recent audit process.
According to the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (KEPHIS), Sunripe was the first Kenyan firm to be cleared for export, followed by Kakuzi Limited. The two firms were also the first to export the commodity to china driven by the regulatory requirements of the authorities in Beijing.
Some firms including the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) and Kakuzi Limited have confirmed that they are making at least $8 for every kilogram of the premium avocado sold to China.
The key buyers for Kenyan avocados are the Netherlands, the United Arabs Emirates, France, Spain, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
According to Horticulture Crops Directorate (HCD) 2017-2018 validated report, avocadoes accounted for 84.48 percent of Kenyan fruits exported.
The 2021 avocado exports in Kenya increased 24 percent to 87,000 tons from 72,000tons exported in 2020, signaling a surging demand for the fruit in the international markets despite the impacts of the covid 19 pandemic.