According to Keitt Exporters Ltd Managing Director Asif Amin, the demand for Kenyan avocados has been on an upward trend for the last three years as exporters, as well as growers, have done their best in meeting the international market standards.
“We are looking into a very good future as the demand can only get better. One of the major steps that has seen us achieve the 10 percent growth at Keitt, is putting farmers under one umbrella body so as to enhance efficiency in our operations. This makes it easier in terms of training and trading. We also work with non-governmental organisations which have been instrumental in training farmers on how to handle their produce after harvesting, as well helping them with logistics after harvesting,” explains Amin.
Keitt, a leading fruit and vegetable exporter, has so far contracted over 1,000 growers and has been working with them for the last four years. It exported 180 containers of avocados in 2014, 230 in 2015 and this year so far, 280 containers have already gone out by sea and almost the same tonnage has been shipped to different destinations by air.
“We have been in this business for 16 years now and every year is different from the other. Our Dubai market especially continues to grow as there are exporters who also export our avocados on to neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” explains Amin. One of the challenges that Keitt as well as other exporters have had to grapple with, is the high cost of freight which is as much as double compared to other countries such as Peru and Chile.
Keitt exports avocados to the Netherlands, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, France and Spain. Hass and Fuerte are the main varieties that Keitt exports, with Hass going to Europe and Fuerte mostly going to Middle East. The company also offers organic avocados but so far only Germany and Dubai have shown interest in this variety.
At the moment, the company is gearing up for the mango season which starts in October. Keitt could be looking forward to a good season if the crop is anything to go by. “Our season window favours us as it goes for six months. We are also at an advantage as Pakistan's season is usually low and they are our main competitor. Our main variety is Apple mango which we mainly export to the Middle East. We are very excited about the upcoming season as the quality of Mangoes looks good so far,” adds Amin.
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