Kenya’s listed agricultural company, Kakuzi PLC, announced on Saturday that it will provide free avocado maturity testing services to local smallholder farmers, aiming to boost the fruit’s competitiveness in overseas markets.

Kakuzi to offer free avocado maturity testing for smallholder farmers in Kenya

In a statement released in Nairobi, Kakuzi said the free avocado maturity testing services will be available to small-scale farmers starting next Wednesday at its Packhouse facility located in central Kenya.

“We shall be providing free avocado maturity testing services for all smallholder farmers to ensure compliance with regulatory, national, and international market requirements,” said Chris Flowers, Kakuzi PLC managing director.

Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority, through its Horticultural Crops Directorate, announced on Thursday the resumption of avocado harvesting and export from March 1 after a four-month suspension.

The regulator had suspended avocado harvesting and export to allow the fruit to mature, amid concerns that some unscrupulous farmers and traders were selling immature avocados, contrary to phytosanitary guidelines. “All avocado dealers are also required to take full responsibility for production and post-production processes to guarantee compliance with regulatory and market requirements,” the regulator said.

According to the regulator, the lifting of the avocado harvesting and export ban followed a field survey in January aimed at ascertaining maturity indices and volumes of avocado fruit in major production zones.

Flowers noted that Kenya currently enjoys a favorable international market position for quality avocado production, thanks to compliance with phytosanitary, environmental, social and governance standards. He revealed that Kakuzi, which commenced exporting Hass avocados to China in 2022, has undertaken internal maturity testing at its quality control room in line with regulations.

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The export of Hass avocados to China by Kakuzi and other agri-business firms followed the signing of two protocols in January 2022 between Kenya and China to facilitate the export of avocados and aquatic products.

Statistics from the regulator indicate that Kenya exports up to 20,000 metric tons of avocados annually to the European Union and the Middle East, with local farmers growing mainly Hass, Fuerte and Jumbo varieties.

Source: Xinhua

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