TANZANIA – Tanzania’s avocado sector has achieved a milestone after flagging off its maiden consignment to India.

This will boost the country’s agriculture sector as it has availed a lucrative market for the country’s produce.

According to Agriculture deputy minister Antony Mavunde, out of 40,000 tonnes of avocados that Tanzania is currently producing per annum, only 9,000 tonnes are being exported, revealing an untapped opportunity.

In readiness to fully venture into the export market, the government is in the process of establishing a common user facility meant for receiving avocado from farmers, rating and grading them to ensure they meet international standards.

The testing services will help boost the national branding objectives geared at positioning Tanzania as a quality avocado fruits source market in the highly regulated global avocado markets.

After gaining entry into the Indian market, the East African nation is eyeing the Chinese market which currently is being served by players such as neighbouring Kenya.

Kenya guards lucrative avocado market

In 2020, Kenya was the largest exporter of avocados on the continent despite only exporting 10 per cent of its avocado produce.

The following year, avocados represented 81.8 per cent of all earnings from the export of fruits with pineapples and mangoes fetching a mere Ksh.1.4 billion (US$12m) and Ksh.1.2 billion (US$10.5m) respectively from the export market between January and November.

During that period, the value of avocado exports fell slightly to Ksh.14.4 billion (US$126m) from Ksh.14.5 billion (US$127m) in a comparable period in 2020 even as the volume of exports rose to 84.5 million kilos from 70.3 million kilos.

In a bid to protect its export markets, Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) has indefinitely extended the suspension of exports for the Hass and Fuerte avocado varieties.

The suspension was first initiated on November 15 last year and seeks to prevent the harvesting and export of immature avocados.

“Harvesting and export of immature avocados have negatively affected the image of Kenyan avocados in overseas markets in addition to interfering with the cropping cycle of the trees thereby reducing projected volumes in subsequent harvests,” AFA stated.

The crop sector regulator says recent surveys show the main season crop remains immature hence necessitating the stay of the suspension on exports.

The export of the Jumbo avocado variety is however set to continue by airlifting only but will remain capped by size.

Looking back, the global avocado market has been quite dynamic registering peaks at US$14.9 bn in 2017, which was the highest record to date, but then dropped to US$13.64 bn in 2018, followed by a further decline to US$12.824 bn in 2019, and finally taking a dip to US$9.14 bn in 2020.

However, the market is expected to reach US$17.905 billion by 2025, highlights Inspira Farms.

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