KENYA – One of the leading exporter of Kenyan avocados, Kakuzi PLC, has confirmed plans to double avocado exports to China following an engagement with Dalian Yidu Group, a major Chinese importer of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The talks resulted in a visit by the Chinese importer’s executives, who were in the country on a three-day familiarization visit at Kakuzi’s Makuyu, Murang’a County, orchards, and packhouse.

Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Chris Flowers said the firm is all set to increase its exports to China once the harvest season commences in late March.

He noted the company has invested heavily to ensure compliance with the stringent Chinese market demands, including tree-to-plate traceability protocols.

To sustain production and meet the ever-growing demand for superfoods, Kakuzi has also expanded its avocado orchards by a further 60 hectares, up from 927 hectares at a Kshs 120 million (US$0.95m) investment cost.

“The visit by the team from Dalian Yidu underscores the importance of quality management systems as such buyers undertake rigorous evaluations to enable them to deliver nothing but the best to their discerning customers,” Flowers said.

During the visit, Dalian Yidu Group Business Executive Laura Xu said the firm’s delegation had been impressed by Kakuzi’s production and quality management processes aligned with the Chinese firm’s supply chain standards.

With an operating hub in the northeastern part of China, she explained that the Dalian Yidu Group has been importing fresh fruit since 1988.

The company has developed formidable international sourcing, cold-chain, and related logistical management structure for its fruit and vegetable business by working and establishing good relationships with leading fruit suppliers worldwide, predominantly from Chile, the U.S., South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and South Asia, Xu noted.

According to Xu, Dalian Yidu has become China’s leading fresh food supply chain manager, whose business scope covers logistics, finance, and trade.

The company has a nationwide logistics network covering major ports across China, including Dalian Port and the Shenyang Distribution Center to cover Northeast China, Zhengzhou Airport and Distribution Center to cover Central China, and Guangzhou Distribution Center to cover South China.

Its infrastructure enables swift, efficient, low-cost, one-stop cold-chain solutions services to clients worldwide.

The know-how in cold-chain management has also allowed the company to successfully introduce dozens of additional fruit brands and agricultural products to the Chinese market.

 Recently, the Rai family, through its Menengai Orchards, is also eyeing the lucrative Chinese market after Kenya was allowed to export fresh avocado to the Asian nation last year.

The company is currently growing 380 acres of produce with a long-term plan of extending the acreage to over 600 acres next year.

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