Kenya: Avocado cooling rules thwart exports to China

Small-scale avocado farmers are likely to miss out on the China market following last month’s export deal between Nairobi and Beijing due to stringent entry rules including freezing the fruits. Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), which will oversee the export of avocados, said the conditions China set might limit small-scale farmers from accessing the market.

Farmers will be required to install machines and coolers for peeling and freezing of the fruit ahead of export, as China wants Kenyan farmers and traders to freeze the fruits in transit to the destination, meaning that farmers have to invest heavily in cold rooms to meet the requirement.

“Most small-scale farmers cannot afford to sell their avocados to China but they can still sell it locally to other established firms that make avocado products,” said Kephis managing director Esther Kimani.

The agency will be required to monitor the peeling and cooling process to ensure Kenya exporters meet the standards. “If we do not comply, China will suspend the exports, however, continuous non-compliance will lead to a total ban,” said the managing director.


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