Kenyan farmers can now export avocados; baby carrots and broccoli to the Mauritius market after the products were approved by the oceanic island nation.
This comes at a time when Kenya has overtaken South Africa as the largest exporter of avocados in Africa.
According to statistics by the International Trade Center, Kenya became the largest exporter of avocados in Africa in 2017, exporting a record volume of 51, 507 tons to the world. South Africa, traditionally the lead exporter of the world fruit from the Agriculture-rich continent, relinquished the position and trailed Kenya for the first time ever in history with 43, 492 tons.
Kenya has over 40 varieties of avocado. Hass is the main export variety and is preferred due to higher fat content than other varieties which gives it a richer taste while Fuerte is preferred for processing.
Hass avocado variety is on demand in the international markets such as UAE, UK, Russia and Spain with more than 70 per cent market share.
Other commercial varieties are Keitt, Reed, Booth 8, Simmonds, Pinkerton, Nabal, Puebla, Tonnage, Ettinger, Hayes, G6 and G7. Varieties used as rootstocks include Puebla, Fuerte, Duke, G6, and G7 according to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
Kenya’s pool of the biggest avocado importers includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and more recently, the Russian Federation.
Avocado packaging by Selina Wamucii, a local fresh fruit exporter. Photo/file.
The UAE tops the list with some 12, 041 tons followed by the Netherlands with 10, 556 tons. France is the third biggest importer: its net volume stood at 10, 423 tons in the same year. Saudi Arabia is the country’s fourth importer with some 4, 874 tons worth of imports in 2017. The Russian Federation currently holds the 5th position in trade volumes that have culminated at 4,171 tons in 2017. The United Kingdom and Spain close the top seven with volumes that verged on 2,944 and 1,734 tons respectively in 2017.
The most common varieties of carrots exported by Kenya are Nantes, a long, straight and tasty carrot which is cylindrical and straight with a rounded tip and Super Kuroda: an excellent carrot with a straight tapered shape leading into a point.
For broccoli exportation, the Kenya Horticulture Exporters (KHE) is one of the biggest exporters of the crop to international markets. In fact, the organization transports at least 22 tonnes a day of fresh produce from raspberries to tender stem broccoli through IAG Cargo, the cargo handling division of International Airlines Group and annually it exports 7500 tonnes of perishables via IAG Cargo.
Broccoli producing areas in Kenya areas include; Nairobi, Laikipia, Kiambu, Muranga, Makueni and part of Rift Valley among others. It is best grown in areas with a lot of sunlight and fertile as well as acidic soils.