Avocado Farmers Given Deadline Before Govt Bans Exports

  • Avocado packed in brown boxes for export
    Avocado packed for export. Source: Facebook
  • Kenya plans to ban the export of avocado varieties such as Hass and Fuerte.

    This will affect avocado farmers who depend on the international market to sell their produce. Kenya is the top avocado exporter in Africa. 

    However, the government offered relief to avocado farmers and exporters by extending the four days to seek clearance from horticulture regulators before a temporary ban is instituted.

    An avocado split in half.
    An avocado split in half.

    The ban will likely be in place from January until early March 2022, as the government steps up efforts to curb exports of immature avocados.

    This is after it emerged that traders were picking immature fruits to capitalise on high prices in the international market.

    Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya CEO Okisegere Ojepat stated that there was a reduction in avocados in the international market and Kenya was among the few countries that are capable of selling the fruit.

    Kenya noted that the temporary ban will allow the fruit to mature and the country can export top quality fruits to the international market.

    Farmers and traders will also have to comply with new rules such as not transporting avocados on open pickups and trucks. 

    The fruits will now be carried in washable crates so that they are transported in a hygienic way.

    Avocado has been a major contributor of the income from the horticulture earnings, raking in nearly half of the total returns from fruits.

    The avocado season for these main varieties is expected to impact local prices as a shortage is expected in the market. Already, there have been price movement with a piece of the fruit now retailing at Ksh30 from Ksh20 previously.

    Meanwhile, Kenya plans to start exporting avocados to China amid growing bilateral trade between the two countries.

    Ojepat stated that discussions were ongoing to approve the export of avocado to the Asian country. 

    A worker sorts avocados at a farm factory on June 14, 2018.
    A worker sorts avocados at a farm factory on June 14, 2018.
    Courtesy VOA