By George Munene
Kakuzi PLC has secured a permit from the Kenya Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to process export-grade fresh avocados for the Chinese market.
The move is expected to benefit smallholder farmers supplying avocadoes to the publicly traded company as it will open up China’s mammoth $133 million avocado market.
The approval followed an extensive phytosanitary audit of the firm’s farms and packhouses by KEPHIS.
Despite president Kenyatta reaching an MOU with China for the export of avocados in April 2019, Kenyan imports had been barred into the East Asia nation until February this year due to heavy fruit fly infestation.
At the start of the year, the two nations concluded negotiations and put pen to paper on two protocols facilitating bilateral trade focused on avocado and aquatic products export to China.
The trade deal is expected to fast track penetration of agricultural products into the Chinese market and reduce Kenya’s trade deficit with her main trading partner.
China had initially set arduous and costly requirements for Kenyan exporters. They had to freeze the fruits to -30°C, peel off the skin, before further chilling to -18°C for shipping.