Small Kenya Avocado Farmers Face Limited Options in China Market

Avocado farmers

When China imposed stringent rules on Kenyan avocado farmers expressing their concerns over the presence of fruit flies in our avocados, Regulatory Government Agencies came together to documented all the requisite procedures and up-to-date information on what it takes to export avocados, for the sake of small scale traders who are the majority in the industry.

Avocado popularity around the world has grown in recent years due to increased awareness of its nutritious value and health benefits. Over the last seven years, Kenya has been fighting tooth and nail to have its avocado access the Chinese market in its full form and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Beijing in April unlocked the avocado export deal.

To maintain export relevance in the market, Government has challenged small scale avocado farmers to join groups such as cooperative societies in the country to sell their products easily into the export market. According to Export promotion council chief executive officer, Peter Biwott the linkages will enable the small scale farmers to have bargaining power and to easily adhere to the requirements in the export market.

“Even for avocados, whether it is frozen, whether it is dry or fresh, what is happening is that there are market linkages created and the route we are choosing is working with county government aggregating farmers in cooperative societies. Then the farmers can sell to large exporting enterprises like Kakuzi, Sunripe are among the leading aggregators of Avocado, they understand and have been registered by Chinese customs. Because before accessing their market you have to be registered by customs,” he said.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) the lead Government Agency which oversees the export of avocados has been agile in trying to restore China’s confidence in Kenyan avocados and help small scale farmers tap into this lucrative market.

The procedures that have been documented and published by Khephis on exporting of avocados include how to obtain food hygiene license for the packhouse facility, packhouse inspection report, farm inspection report & export license, register as an exporter and to register for user training.

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