Farmers from avocado growing zones in the country have been advised to start harvesting their fruits for export from March 24.
A circular by Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to exporters among other players in the sub sector has revealed that avocado for this year’s season have attained the required maturity and volume indices and are ready for export.
In the circular signed by the director of the authority’s horticultural crops directorate Mr. Benjamin Tito, all avocado fruits for export will be subjected to 100 percent inspection before being shipped to international buyers.
“The directorate undertook avocado maturity field survey between March 6 and 12, this year to ascertain quality and volume of the avocado fruits in Major production zones and established the fruits are ready for export, “reads part of the circular.
Tito in the circular explained that exporters are advised to apply for the inspection at least three days to the shipment of the produce.
The Director further indicated that export of fuerte, hass, jumbo and pinkerton varieties of avocado will be limited to a maximum size code 26, which is equivalent to 144 grams.
AFA also wants all exporters to submit a list of their horticultural produce marketing agents on or before March 16.
“Exporters utilizing marketing agents or suppliers without valid registration permits shall have their licenses revoked,” the director further indicated in the circular.
Tito asked all dealers to take sole responsibility of production and post production processes to guarantee compliance to regulatory, market and statutory requirements are implemented, maintained and improved.
AFA through the horticultural and crop directorate moved to regulate export of avocados so as to prevent shipment of immature fruits which may ruin the reputation of the Kenyan avocados.
In a recent consultative meeting which was held in Murang’a towards the end of March, dealers were cautioned of transporting avocado using open pickups as the mode of transport will compromise quality of the fruits.
Major avocado growing areas in Kenya includes counties of Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Kirinyaga, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru and Tranzoia.
Speaking elsewhere, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Avocado Society of Kenya Ernest Muthomi asked farmers to embrace reforms being implemented in the avocado sub sector saying the regulations which ensure demand for Kenyan avocados is high.
Muthomi said exporting of quality avocado will in return ensure farmers get better returns condemning brokers who are perpetuating selling of immature fruits.
His society, together with Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency, Muthomi remarked that it has brokered a new deal where from this season, the country will start shipment of avocado to Henan province of China.
“Initially Kenya was only exporting avocado to Shanghai province but from this season, we have a new market in Henan province of China. This opens more markets for our fruits and that’s why we’re stressing on harvesting and exporting high quality fruits,” he added.
By Bernard Munyao and Anita Omwenga