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.
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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.