Kenya’s fresh avocado exports have finally been allowed entry into China, after China reversed an initial requirement that only allowed frozen produce.
China had locked out the fresh produce in 2019 due to prevalence of fruit flies locally. China wanted Kenyan farmers and traders to freeze the fruits to negative 30 degree Celsius after peeling off the skin and chill further to negative 18 degrees while in transit to the destination, meaning farmers had to invest heavily in cold rooms to meet the requirement.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) managing director Theophilus Mutui says the move follows successful completion of the Pest Risk Analysis carried out by the agency and the National Plant Protection Organisation of China, which identified quarantine pests of concern to China that should be controlled before export.
Thus, all fresh avocado fruits must comply with applicable Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, health and safety standards and be free from any quarantine pests of concern to China.
This means, therefore, that producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocado to china will have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kephis. They will also be re required to apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and maintain proper sanitary conditions as well as implement Integrated Pest Management programs, which include pest monitoring, chemical and biological control and any other pest control operations.
Further, the exporters would also be required to carry out treatment of the fresh avocado fruits by fumigation before export and ensure that all consignments are inspected prior to export.
According to the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) performance report for last year, the volume of avocado exports increased from 70.3 million kilos in 2020 to 84.5 million kilos in 2021.
However, the value of avocado exports decreased from KSh14.5 billion in 2020 to KSh14.4 billion between January to November 2021.