KENYA – Mauritius has lifted its ban on Kenya’s avocado produce imposed in 2015 but unveiled strict hygienic conditions for the fruit to access Mauritian market.
Following the move, Kenyan authorities will have to meet high standards for the exports to commence as the country continues to expand its market for the lucrative produce.
Kenya’s avocado produce for export into the country will have to meet specific chemical, storage and transportation conditions as dictated by the Mauritian National Plant Protection Office.
This will also include conditions on insect and disease infestation as well as traceability certifications to prove the produce is from Kenya.
As part of the arrangement, Kenyan authorities will work with Mauritian counterparts to ensure strict conformance and implementation of the conditions.
The development follows an agreement between head of state in Kenya, President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius to boost trade relation between the countries that has also opened doors for baby carrots, baby beans and broccoli imports into the country.
The deal however, implies that Port Louis in Mauritius will allow quantities from Kenya based only on demand, safety standards and rules of origin as set by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Investments into avocado farming in Kenya has in the recent past increased reflected by uptick in acreage of the fruit under cultivation which has seen production increase to about 200,000 tonnes annually.
This has subsequently seen the country seek other markets for the produce, and recently the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) said it has already engaged Chinese experts to allow export into China.
Additionally, in July last year South Africa lifted ban on the commodity imports from Kenya after a 10-year ban that saw the country lose an estimated US$22.78 million (Sh2.3bn) annually.
Kenya is the world’s sixth largest exporter of avocados accounting for 3% of the world’s total production and the second largest producer in Africa after South Africa.
According to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Kenyan avocados have become more marketable following tough measures to protect the fruits’ export quality that has also seen farmers comply to the market demands.
The country produces is mainly exported into European market, South Africa and Qatar and now China and Mauritius could add to the market, fuelling further interest.