Limited access to the Chinese market by avocado farmers due to stringent entry conditions has slashed Kenya’s horticulture exports by 10.7% in the year to July 2022.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that horticulture exports declined from $1.13 billion in the 12 months to July 2021, to $1 billion this year, contrasting with tea and coffee exports whose value rose in the period.
Exporters had been waiting for the last three years to start exporting avocadoes to the Chinese market after China put in place stringent measures, which required Kenya to only export frozen crop.
However, in March this year, China allowed Kenya to export fresh avocados, making the country the only approved African source market for fresh Avocado fruits in the Asian country.
The increased demand generated in the global sphere has seen the country take the lead as Africa’s top exporter of the commodity, surpassing South Africa.
Producers and exporters wanting to export fresh avocados to China now have to ensure that all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities are registered by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) as one of the new conditions to access that market.
Just last week, The Norwegian authorities raised an alarm over Kenyan avocados after two packages of the product were claimed to contain high doses of pesticide chlorpyrifos that exceed the permitted limit value.
Of the other horticulture exports during the review period, tea fetched $1.29 billion, an increase of 9% year-on-year. Coffee exports earned the country $318 million in the period, up from $238 million in 2021.