AFA suspends avocado exports from Kenya indefinitely

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The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) has suspended the export of avocado fruits indefinitely. This comes as a huge blow to avocado farmers especially since the suspension comes just months after President Kenyatta signed a deal with President Xi Jinping to allow Kenya to export frozen avocado to China.

In addition to China, Kenya’s other overseas markets include European Union and Middle East countries which account for 42% and 28%-respectively. The demand for the fruit in the international market rose steadily last year by between 50 and 80% compared to the previous season with more customers demanding full containers of avocado monthly.

The suspension, according to media reports, has been attributed to pressure from some of the companies to their contracted farmers to harvest premature fruit in a bid to rake in millions of shillings from the huge Chinese market.

In a notice signed by interim head of Horticultural Crops Directorate Bernard Ondanje dated January 23, 2020 the move to suspend the export was meant to safeguard quality. He further revealed that a number of companies and individual farmers have broken the rules of exporting the fruit.

Kenya exports approximately 51,507 tonnes of the fruit, earning the country nearly Sh8 billion while South Africa exports 43,492 tonnes, annually The country produces an average of 191,000 tonnes of avocado per year.