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Kenya to Exports Avocado to India

Kenya has secured market for fresh avocado market in India in a major milestone that will boost export trade between the two countries.

the development comes after the Indian government approved the export of the fresh produce beginning this September when the first shipment are expected to commence in a move that farmers welcomed with batted breath.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) Managing Director  Theophilus Mutui confirmed  that the government of India last week approved Kenya’s request to export avocados , a move that will boost the government’s plan to expand her share in the international market.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting organized by the  African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to share updates on the implication of the lifting of the GMO ban in the country, the MD confirmed that  they had received a communication from the Indian government dated Aug 16, 2023 confirming opening of the market by the Asian country.

“The India Government allowed Kenya avocado market access after notifying the world trade organization (WTO) about the same. We are happy as export destinations continue to increase and thus help our farmers to grow more avocados”, he said .

The communication however, Prof. Mutui said details the conditions  that Kenya has to meet before the fruits are allowed to access the Asian country market

“The requirements   that are to be met  by all growers to be able to export is that all avocados have to be fumigated by Methyl bromide  to control and remove pests such as fruit fly  or an alternative  will be the cold treatment “ he said but confirmed that as of now , Kenya has the capacity to conduct fumigation.

Prof. Muthui noted that soon the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary together with his Counterpart in the Trade Ministry will be launching the inaugural export of the Avocados to India and confirming that the inaugural will  be a few samples of the avocados will be sent out with a diplomatic bag that will be received by the Kenyan High Commission to India  and the Kenyan dignitaries and thereafter exporters will look for partners and start exporting with the help of KEPHIS.

The MD noted that Kenya and India has been carrying out negotiation talks for the last five years and this therefore is good news for Kenya which has already been exporting the fruits to China.

In the next two weeks we will be opening up and exporting the inaugural export and come September we will be able to export commercially joining the current opened market of fresh avocados that we are exporting to china and Mauritius “, Prof. Muthui said and confirming too that the government is working towards hard and negotiating with the the United States of America and South Korea on market access

Kephis , the MD noted, has shared the communication details with the value chain players and especially farmers groups such as the Avocado Society of Kenya (ASK) and Produce Consortium of Kenya.

The targeted markets will add on the existing European and Middle-East markets that are currently major destinations for Kenya’s produce and thus cushion the country against stiff competition from Latin America.

On other matters that touch on  the global market  Prof Muthui   said that they are studying the conditions shared by  countries and will revert back to by sharing a comprehensive on the nature of the avocado farming in the county.

“Some of the issues the new markets are interested in include presence of pests, whether the farms are fumigated and emerging diseases, ” he added.

Ernest Muthomi, the ASK chief executive officer  said that as a society they have welcomed the move by the Indian government saying this will help in expanding Kenyan market share globally.

“We appreciate the gesture as our farmers will now be able to sell their fruits in India. However, we appeal through the Government to negotiate for zero-rating of the export duty currently charged by the Indian Government of 30 per cent as it can deny the traders the competitiveness the avocados are enjoying in other segments of the global market

Kenya is among the top ten producers of avocado in the world and currently farmers in the country have diversified into avocado farming in the last decade owing to premium prices the fruits are attracting locally and in overseas markets.

The central region is the country’s main producer of avocado but the government has been working to increase avocado production in the western counties to ensure Kenya’s seasons start in January to take advantage of the off-season by major world producers.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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