Opening of avocado harvesting season in Kenya. The agriculture and food authority, AFA through Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) regulates the horticultural sub-sector through enforcement of rules and regulations to ensure quality produce is marketed especially to the international markets. This move is aimed at helping Kenya capitalize on the global shortage of commodities. The head of the horticulture crops directorate Mr. Benjamin Tito said this will be done in March of 2022. Export of the fruit was halted four months ago to curb the harvest of the immature crops following rampant cases of traders picking young fruits to capitalize on high prices of the fruits at the international markets. A survey conducted shows that 20 to 30 percent of the fruits are ready for harvesting and Kenya stands to earn a good income due to prevailing good prices globally. Chief executive officer of the Fresh produce consortium of Kenya Ojepat Okisegere said the resumption of exports comes as a boost to Kenyan farmers. Top world avocado producers, Mexico and Peru are currently off the main season creating a shortage of fruit.

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Avocado has been a major contributor to the horticulture sector, nearly half of the returns came from the fruit. During the closure, earnings dropped marginally to sh 18.3 billion from 18.4 a year earlier despite an increase in volumes from 105 million kilos to 117 kilos last year. Kenya’s avocado market in the Middle East was hit in 2018 following the export of immature crops to the region. This was mainly done by crafty business persons who were exporting to the region in order to enjoy the huge returns from the high market prices. Last week the Chinese government allowed the export of Kenyan avocados to the country after four years of negotiations as Beijing reversed an initial requirement that only allowed frozen produce, coming as a major boost to farmers.

Opening of avocado harvesting season in Kenya.

Following a meeting with the council of governors, CoG through their representative. The chairperson, counties agriculture caucus, and horticulture industry association CEOs held on 25th February 2022 at HCD Boardroom it was resolved that

  1. Harvesting of Fuerte variety for export will be opened on 4th March 2022 and Hass variety on 18th March 2022.
  2. Avocado harvesting and handling shall conform to the crops (horticulture crops) regulations 2020 part iii paragraph 18 and KS1758.
  3. All consignments for export shall be subjected to 100% inspection. Exporters are required to apply for inspection at least three days prior to shipment.
  4. The minimum dry matter (DM) content shall be 22%
  5. The export of jumbo and Pinkerton varieties will continue but be limited to a maximum size code of 20 (184g)
  6. Transportation of avocado shall conform to the crops (horticulture crops )  regulations, 2020 part iii paragraph.
  7. Exporters contracting marketing agents are required to submit a list of their contracted agents with valid registration  certificates by 4th March 2022
  8. Exporters or their marketing agents found contravening the crops (horticultural crops) regulations, 2022 shall be penalized.

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