Anton Bothma, Eagle Fruit Alliance:

"Kenya to become major player in avocado market"

Over the past few years Kenya avocado could not compete with supplies from Peru and South Africa. Something had to be done to improve the maturity standards of Kenyan Hass avocado to become again a major player in the avocado market.

All producers, packers and exporters got together and requested HCDA, the Kenyan Government body, to control the oil content and dry matter before allowing pack houses to pack. Special meetings were held with farmers to explain the importance of good maturity development. The co-operation from all roll players was very good and this week HCDA finally approved the commencement of the new Kenyan Hass season.

The shipping costs was reduced substantially compared to last year and this will unquestionably put Kenya in a competitive marketing position. "With the demand in Europe growing for avocado and the fact that some competitive countries suffered production due to adverse weather conditions. It surely opens a window of opportunity for Kenya, especially now that so much attention is given from a production point of view to ensure the perfect maturity standard," explains Anton Bothma from Eagle Fruit Alliance.

"We just returned back from Europe to secure marketing programmes and we are sure that we have a very good season ahead. In fact all our clients in Europe agreed that if the first arrivals proof to show the maturity to be as good as we believe it would be, after all the work that has been put in from the production side. Then the supply programmes for avocados from Kenya will be extended for the full duration of the season." The crop shows to be bigger than normal and fruit sizes are bigger, according to Anton.

"All pack houses are now monitored by HCDA to pack only fruit with good maturity indexes, so we are very optimistic about the new season which will run right into August. The first ship is destined to depart next week and from early April good volumes will arrive in Europe.

For more information:
Anton Bothma
Eagle Fruit Alliance
Tel: +27 828 203 707
Fax: +27 865 497 020

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