Officers from Kenya’s Agriculture Foods Authority (AFA) have intercepted three containers suspected to ferry immature avocados. The containers with 75 tons of avocados are being held in Mombasa where they were intercepted as investigations are commenced to establish if the fruits were ready for export.
AFA Interim Director, Antony Mureithi, has said the fruits are suspected to be harvested from Kandara in Murang’a County and were about to be exported before they were intercepted in Mombasa.
The consignment, Mureithi noted will be thoroughly inspected to ascertain if the avocados attained maturity level needed to qualify for export. Mureithi said farmers have been advised not to harvest immature avocados as the move may prompt international buyers to ban avocados from Kenya.
He observed that a team of experts is on the ground to reinforce ban of harvesting avocado before they mature. “If the avocados in the containers will be found to be immature, disciplinary measures will be taken against the dealers for going against regulations issued to guide harvesting of avocados,” added Mureithi.
Murang’a County Government last December warned farmers of being incited by brokers to harvest immature avocados.
Avocado Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Ernest Muthomi, has said international buyers may ban Kenyan avocados if those exported are found to be immature. He said members of his Society are adequately advised and educated on the right time to harvest the fruits.
He said export of immature fruits was banned to ensure farmers supply the market with the best, for better returns and should the unwanted products be found, the consignments are shipped back to the country of origin.