Nairobi — Local agribusiness firm Kakuzi Plc has secured pre-shipment approvals from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) for its second fresh avocado shipment to China.
The firm is expected to ship several 20-foot container loads to China by sea before the end of this week as demand for Kenyan avocados continues to grow.
Kenya is currently enjoying a market advantage as it is the only approved African source market for fresh avocado fruits in China.
Speaking when he confirmed the scheduled shipment, Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Christopher Flowers said the containers were prepared and transferred to Mombasa over the weekend.
"We received the pre-shipment clearance by KEPHIS last week and proceeded to load and dispatch the container to Mombasa over the weekend. The container is expected to leave the port of Mombasa for a 30-day voyage to China," Flowers said.
Speaking from China, Kakuzi market agents HALLS Fresh Produce Representative Lifan Yu said the firm is sourcing its supplies from approved countries, including Chile, Peru, New Zealand and Mexico, using its Halls' Responsibly Sourced Network' of global partners who are carefully selected.
"This year, we started our supply programme with Kenya, who have finally received market access into China. We have planned for sea-freight shipments for the rest of the year, which will arrive for October and November sales, in a period where we feel the market will have limited Chilean avocados," Yu said.
The Chinese market, Yu said, clearly needs more supply of quality fruit and more options to enable consumers to purchase avocados 365 days a year at affordable prices.
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.
Government data indicates that Kenya exports an average of 80,000 tonnes of avocados annually, with main markets over the years being countries in the European Union as well as the Middle East.