Nairobi — Sunripe Vertical Agro has flagged off its first batch of fresh avocados that will be exported to China.
It becomes the second company to export fresh avocados to Shanghai where there is a great demand for produce from Kenya.
Speaking during the event, the firm's Managing Director (MD) Hasit Shah noted this great move wouldn't have been possible without the support from the government and other stakeholders.
He attributed the massive support he received to be the key thing that accelerated the process since the company has taken a shorter period to make it possible, unlike other exporters who have taken a longer period to achieve exporting fresh avocados to China.
"What we have achieved together with all sector players together with the government is unbelievable. We have achieved in 3 ½ years what Mexico and everybody else has taken 10 years and while South Africa is still on the drawing board," he stated.
He also encouraged the government and other firms to invest in fruit farming since there is a huge demand for avocados.
"We need to spend a lot of money on orchard management and producing very high-quality fruits. We also need to invest in marketing and value addition," added Hasit.
This first batch that has been flagged off is expected to reach the Mombasa port tomorrow awaiting shipment.
It will then be shipped to China and will arrive in approximately 24 days.
The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development David Osiany has appreciated the move noting it as a great way of cementing the bilateral relationship between Kenya and China.
"This great move affirms our commitment and desire to strengthen our friendship and cooperation that is aimed at enhancing and strengthening our trade and the economic relationship existing between our country Kenya and our wonderful partner China," he stated.
The MD of Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) Theophilus Mutui commended Sunripe for complying with the required standards that need to be met by the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC) and promised to ensure they stick to the standards.
He further urged other firms interested in exporting avocados to join Sunripe and Kakuzi since there is great demand for Kenyan-grown avocados in China.
Kenyan Agricultural firm Kakuzi PLC was the first company in the country to export fresh avocados to Shanghai, China this past weekend.
The export of fresh avocados to China follows the early January signing of two protocols to facilitate bilateral trade, mainly the export of avocados and aquatic products from Kenya to China by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian.