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    Avocado photo by mt-kenya-avocado-farmer.jpg

    Avocados harvesting for export. More farmers from central Kenya will access EU market after receiving certification, Photo by Mt Kenya avocado farmers.

    At least 294 farmers have been cleared to sell fresh avocados to the European Union after receiving certification of compliance to production and harvest regulations that have been limiting export.

    Europe is one of the main horticultural consumers for Kenya, but conditions such as limited chemical use and harvest hygiene have consistently limited farmers from accessing this multi-billion shilling market.

    The allowing of the 12 farmers’ linked companies to export comes when the harvest of furte and Hass is peaking before slowing down by August.

    With the closure of the South African export market a few years ago, most farmers, who are not linked to the outside market by other exporters, sell their produce locally. When the local market is saturated, the rest goes to waste since value addition is still limited.

    Coupled with the introduction of the controlled atmosphere containers that allow for transportation of the fruits for long distances without depreciating in quality, farmers will export their product to the European market with ease.

      The Export Promotion Council CEO Peter Biwott said in Thika that the nine companies working with nine farmers’ groups in Murang’a County will have a sure market, and producers will not be in losses any more.

    READ ALSO:Global avocado demand doubles prices

    READ ALSO: Controlled containers boost Kenyan avocado export market

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    The nine companies received an Overall 9 Global Gap Certificates, marking their authorization for the entry into this multi-billion shilling fresh produce market. He said the inclusion of the farmers raise the export margin by 35 per cent.

    The farmers’ groups include Rwakama Farmers, Kiawambogo Central, Gachocho Mixed, Ng’araria Avocado Farmers Self-help Group, Gaichanjiru, Mavuno Organics Kenya Limited, Gatuya Avocado farmers Self help Group, Marigu and Mofarm Fresh Fruit Exporters.

    Kenya’s dried avocado export has been rising, with the country selling 46.7 tons to the international market in 2016. The figure was higher by 7.8 tons than what was exported in 2015. Kenya earned Sh6.5 billion and Sh5.2 billion in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the Kenya national bureau of Statistics.

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    milk in a aupermarket. photo by the Star..jpg

    Fresh milk at a supermarket. Two processor have announced the drop of the price of fresh milk by Sh10. Photo by The Star

    Fresh milk consumers will pay Sh10 less for a half liter of milk after two leading processors announced the drop due to improved deliveries from farmers and importation of duty-free milk to covert the deficit.

    New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) and Brookside Dairy announced the drop On Monday.  The cost of half a litre packet of milk will retail at less than Sh60, depending on the brand.

    Brookside and New KCC are the leading milk processors in the country. A packet of KCC will be retailing at Sh50 from the previous Sh60.

    Tuzo, Ilara and Molo – brands owned by Brookside - will drop to retail at Sh52, Sh55 and Sh50 respectively after shedding off Sh10 each.

    Milk started rising after the deliveries by farmers to the processors dropped after the drought that struck the country from mid November last year to April this year.  Pastures dried up and the maize shortage caused a rise in feeds production costs, leading to the reduced milk output from farmers.

    But in a statement, KCC reported a 20 per cent increase in deliveries of milk. Brookside reported a 30 per cent increase in farmers’ deliveries.

    Besides the close to two-months rain, which has caused the recovery of  green pastures like Napier grass, the government recently allowed for importation of 9,000 tonnes of duty free powdered milk to plug in the deficit gap.

    By February 2017, the milk delivery to processors had dropped to 36.11 million litres from 56.44 million litres in October 2016. This caused the increase of the cost of the 500ml of from an average of Sh50 to more than Sh60.

    READ ALSO: Milk farmers turn to hawkers for profits

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    Other farmers started selling milk to hawkers, who were offering higher prices per litre than the mainstream processors. The milk is sold in town in automated teller machines and other fresh shops.

    Brookside milk procurement director John Gethi said in a statement that the company will monitor the situation and adjust the prices appropriately.

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