Mauritius imposed tight hygienic conditions on Kenya’s avocados even as it lifted a ban on the fruits in a move that could provide farmers an expanded market for their produce.

On a state visit to Port Louis, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday convinced the Mauritian government to lift the ban on avocados and other produce from Kenya.

It was imposed in 2015 after Mauritian authorities cited low standards of hygiene.

HIGH STANDARDS

The development means Kenyan authorities will have to meet high standards for the exports to start flowing.

Avocados will have to meet specific chemical, storage and transportation conditions imposed by the Mauritian National Plant Protection Office.

Conditions on insect and disease infestation as well as certifications to prove the produce is from Kenya will also be required.

As part of the arrangement, Kenyan authorities will continue to work with Mauritian counterparts on implementing the conditions.

In the past, Kenyan avocados and fruits were not allowed into countries such as South Africa as safety conditions imposed by public health authorities were not met.

OTHER PRODUCE

The President’s tour also saw the two countries sign agreements to enhance trade.

A dispatch from State House indicated that baby carrots, baby beans and broccoli will also be allowed into Mauritius, following a deal between President Kenyatta and his host Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

The move by Mauritius comes less than six months after the Chinese government opened its doors to Kenya’s fresh produce.

Kenya has been searching for more markets for its avocados following rising interest by farmers in growing more trees.

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The country produces about 200,000 tons of the fruit a year, selling nearly a quarter of it to countries such as South Africa and Qatar. China and Mauritius could add to the market, fuelling further interest.

The Mauritian deal, however, means Port Louis will allow quantities from Kenya based only on demand, safety standards and based rules of origin by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).

This, Port Louis argues, will help protect local producers during high seasons.

OTHER DEALS

According to State House, President Kenyatta and PM Jugnauth also signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and an MOU on Cooperation for the Development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Processing Zone in Kenya.

It wasn’t clear if the DTAA was different from the one the High Court quashed in March, saying it was unconstitutional.

For this to jump the legal hurdle, it may have to be endorsed by the National Assembly, which is deemed the people’s representative

Other agreements were MoUs on tourism, higher education and scientific research as well as arts and culture.

“Both countries can benefit from the proximity to each other to foster closer cooperation across many areas. I welcome the conclusion and signing of agreements in six areas during this state visit,” the President said.

BLUE ECONOMY

President Kenyatta encouraged the two sides to collaborate in championing the development of the blue economy since both countries are littoral states with long coastlines.

“Kenya is making good progress in developing the Port of Lamu as part of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project,” he said.

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“I look forward to Mauritius sharing the dividends that will accrue from the transport infrastructure once it is complete.”

President Kenyatta took the trip with government officials including Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and George Magoha (Education).

ARTICLE CREDIT: AGGREY MUTAMBO
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On a state visit to Port Louis, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday convinced the Mauritian government to lift the ban...
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