Nairobi — Listed integrated Kenyan agricultural firm Kakuzi PLC has announced a free fruit maturity testing service for smallholder avocado farmers for the current harvest period.
As part of the firm's out-grower development programs, Kakuzi, the prime exporter of quality Hass variety avocados will provide free maturity testing services during the current harvest period that runs to August this year. The services will ensure compliance with quality standards and enhance the value of Kenyan fruit in the global market.
The Kakuzi avocado smallholder program focuses on the economic empowerment of smallholder avocado farmers through sharing skills and knowledge on avocado growing and overall good agricultural practices. Last year, Kakuzi Avocado Smallholder Farmers enjoyed a payment of Sh57.9 Million and access to the growing international market.
Speaking, when he confirmed the initiative, Kakuzi PLC's Executive Head - Corporate Affairs, Mr Simon Odhiambo, said the fruit maturity testing services at the firm's Avocado Packhouse would help reduce post-harvest challenges arising from the handling of premature fruits. The testing services will also help boost the national branding objectives geared at positioning Kenya as a quality avocado fruits source market.
The free fruit maturity testing services, he said, will be provided at the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems certified Kakuzi Avocado Processing and Packhouse facility located near Makuyu town, along the Nairobi-Nyeri highway.
"We are encouraging HASS variety Avocado farmers to consider taking advantage of the free fruit maturity testing services at the Kakuzi facility to minimize losses that accrue from the premature harvesting of this precious fruit," Odhiambo said. He added that "The testing service will also serve to enhance quality assurance for all export-grade fruits, to enable Kenya to grow its international reputation.
At the GlobalGAP certified Kakuzi Avocado Packhouse, farmers will receive detailed pre-harvest reports on quality and maturity against their fruit samples. By extending the free fruit maturity testing services, Kakuzi seeks to empower smallholder farmers to access the often lucrative, albeit highly regulated global avocado markets.
Kakuzi PLC also serves as a member of the Avocado Society of Kenya, which is working on improving the positioning of Kenyan Avocado as a fruit of choice locally and internationally.