China grants Kenyan avocado exporters access to domestic market dotted with strict requirements

KENYA – Kenyan avocado exporters will now have opportunity to sell their fresh produce to the populous Far East nation, China, which had initially in 2019 only allowed in the fruit in its frozen form.

The opening comes after a successful completion of the rigorous Pest Risk Analysis carried out by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and the National Plant Protection Organization of China which identified quarantine pests of concern to China which should be controlled before export opening was granted.

According to KEPHIS, all the fresh avocado fruits must comply with all applicable Chinese phytosanitary (plant health) laws and regulations, health and safety standards and be free from any quarantine pests of concern to China.

In a statement to newsrooms, KEPHIS Managing Director, Prof Theophilus Mutui, said that specifically, all producers and exporters intending to export fresh avocado to China must have all their production farms, pack houses and fumigation treatment facilities registered by KEPHIS.

They also need to apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and keep good sanitary conditions as well as implement Integrated Pest Management programs, including pest monitoring, chemical and biological control and any other pest control operations.

The exporters will also be required to monitor and manage quarantine pests of concern to China under the guidance of KEPHIS, reports Kenya News Agency.

“KEPHIS shall carry out periodic field inspection, keep monitoring records of quarantine pests as well as pest management measures implemented as well as carry out phytosanitary treatment of the fresh avocado fruits by fumigation before export,” Mutui said in the statement.

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KEPHIS will further ensure that all consignments are inspected prior to export, the MD said adding that they will monitor the processing, packaging, storage and transportation of the fruits.

The access to the Chinese markets comes just after Kenya and China last month were expected to conduct inspection and address technical issues to ensure that avocado meant for export meet quality and safety threshold.

Kenya has been selling frozen avocados to the Chinese market and this new agreement will help increase the country’s export earnings.

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According to the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) performance report for last year, the volume of avocado export increased from 70.3 million kilos in 2020 to 84.5 million kilos in 2021.

However, the value of avocado exports decreased from Ksh14.5 billion (US$127m) in 2020 to Ksh14.4 billion (US$126m) between January to November 2021.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) is the government parastatal whose responsibility is to assure the quality of agricultural inputs and produce to prevent adverse impacts on the economy, the environment, and human health.

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