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Kenya resumes Sh5.4 billion avocado trade with SA

Kenya has resumed avocado exportation to South Africa a decade after the fruit was banned from that market following pest infestation.

South Africa banned avocado imports from Kenya due to fruit fly infestation in 2007 in a move that led to Sh2.8 billion revenue losses.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) announced yesterday that the ban on avocado by the South African government has now been lifted giving hope to Kenyan farmers. Kephis managing director Esther Kimani said the relief follows long negotiations among stakeholders, easing pain for farmers who have since been grappling with reduced marketshare since 2007.

Negotiations

“We would like to report that the avocado export market has finally been reopened after long negotiations spearheaded by Kephis and other stakeholders,” Kimani said in the statement.

He said the two governments have been discussing the matter leading to an agreement on set rules and conditions to be followed and implemented by Kenyan avocado farmers.

Among the condition is a pest management plan developed by Kenya to create pest free zones to reduce infestation of the fruit fly. The pest was the major concern that led to the fallout between the two partners, and after various studies conducted by Kephis, it has now been found that the quarantine effect has been negligible under standard export conditions.

Register farms

Avocado exporters will also be expected to register their farms and pack houses with government agencies and audited for compliance in line with the system approach requirement by SA.

“Only those exporters approved by Kephis and assigned special codes shall proceed to apply for an import permit,” she said.

Kenya also exports avocados to the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Netherlands, France, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Spain, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.

Kenya is ranked third worldwide with a 15 per cent share of the summer European market behind Peru and South Africa. In 2016, Kenya exported avocadoes worth Sh5.4 billion to various export market destination which represented 38,702 tonnes.

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