By George Munene
Kenyan integrated agro-business firm Kakuzi PLC has celebrated the operationalisation of the new Port of Lamu with an inaugural 80-ton cargo of Avocados destined for France.
This follows a 93 per cent rise in the demand for Kenyan avocado to Sh4.26 billion in the first three months of 2021 per data from Kenya’s Horticulture Directorate.
Fresh Hass avocados grown at the Kakuzi PLC Makuyu orchards were loaded onto five containers on cargo Ship MV Seago Bremerhaven which docked at the Port of Lamu en-route to the Port of Marseille-Fos, France.
Speaking when he confirmed the firm’s export load, Kakuzi Managing Director Chris Flowers said the operationalization of the port provides wider benefits for agribusiness firms that import farm inputs and export produce.
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“As a truly Kenyan agribusiness firm, we are excited at the operationalization of the first berth at the Port of Lamu. This development begins to crystallize the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor project, which will benefit Kenyan producers immensely and congratulate the Government and the Kenya Ports Authority among the other development partners for this milestone,” Flowers said.
Grown in Makuyu, Murang’a County, the Kakuzi Avocado fruit, Flowers said, is steadily enjoying market preference due to its high quality. “Our location provides a temperate climate which is perfectly suited to the production of avocado. From seedling to fork, we have full control over the entire value chain, ensuring complete traceability and a high-quality product,” he assured.
The picking of fruits from farms is outsourced to a clearing and forwarding firm, Volcan, which transports the avocados to Lamu,
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Each avocado container is a 40-foot shipping container with a controlled atmosphere cooling system that keeps the air at 6 degrees and scrubs the air to prevent the fruit from ripening before it arrives. On average, each container holds about 20,000 kilos of fruit packed into 4-kilo cartons. There are about 5,200 cartons in each container.