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Chinese traders plan on increasing Kenyan avocado imports

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By George Munene

According to China’s Director-General of the Department of African Affairs, Wu Peng, the first batch of Kenyan avocados arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday with Chinese importers showing strong interest in their high quality and plan to import on a bigger scale. 

The arrival of the inaugural shipment of Hass variety avocado from Sunripe Kenya follows China’s clearing of 15 Kenyan firms to export fresh avocados. 

Since 2019, Kenya had only been allowed to import frozen avocados owing to the prevalence of fruit flies in the country.

Kakuzi PLC also shipped its first batch of avocado to China this weekend 

The Kenyan government expects China’s million-dollar avocado market to import 40 per cent of Kenya’s avocados, making it the largest overseas market for the fruit.

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The avocado is one of the fastest-growing fruits in China. In 2010, China imported only 2 tons of avocado. By 2020, China imported 36,000 metric tons. This is expected to increase over five times to about 196,000 metric tons by 2028.

China has mainly imported avocados from Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

“In this trial phase, we intend to test the entire system capacity and fix any challenges between ourselves, the phytosanitary protocols facility, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) ahead of the planned larger shipments before the end of the next quarter,” read part of a statement by Kakuzi’s Managing Director Chris Flowers.

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The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) early this week confirmed that the Chinese National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) had approved 15 orchards, 9 packhouses, and one fumigation facility to export fresh avocado to China.

“Currently, the Chinese market is relatively small compared to the European market. We hope that by exposing the discerning Chinese consumer to high-quality fruit from Kenya, that market will outpace the current exports into Europe,” Flowers said. Adding that “the potential to grow the Chinese market demand is huge; if we maintain the highest quality standards for our exports.”

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