Listed Agricultural firm Kakuzi is gearing to resume exports of avocadoes to supermarkets in Europe which stopped buying its produce in October 2020. Kakuzi faced scathing accusations of engaging in serious human rights violations.
Avocado from Kakuzi boycotted by UK retailers
Supermarket giants Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl subsequently boycotted Kakuzi supplies after reports of rape and violence at the firm hit international headlines.
Camellia Plc-the parent company of Kakuzi, says efforts have since been made to enable Kakuzi to resume the UK supplies market.
The adverse media reports led to many retail chains in Europe suspending supplies from Kakuzi. The firm is already reporting fresh orders from customers in the new season.
Available figures indicate that Kakuzi avocado exports to the United Kingdom and Europe were up 21.8% to KSh 2.2 Billion in December 2020, a boycott in the last quarter of the year notwithstanding.
Camellia and its local subsidiary Kakuzi have had to go on a charm offensive to win back customers who put a high price tag on ethical business behaviour as well as quality.
The multinational spend considerable sums in legal fees and other costs to defend itself against suits filed by litigants in Malawi and Kenya.
These amounts include £4.6 million (KSh695 million) and £2.3 million (KSh347 million) that the multinational paid as compensation to victims in Malawi and Kenya.
Kakuzi had separately spent KSh137.4 million on lawyers in the year ended December to defend itself against the human rights abuse charges.
The agricultural firm had been sued alongside Camellia but was later dropped as a party to the proceedings in July 2020.