It’s been a relatively good year for the avocado oil business in Kenya. Demand did not falter, despite the global pandemic. One avocado oil trader even claims demand has increased by about ten per cent in 2020.
Although the year 2020 has been challenging in many aspects, the business of avocado oil trading has actually been going rather well, says Origen Group CEO Grace Kariuki: “So far, the year has been great. Covid-19 has not affected the demand of avocado oil. On the contrary, we have seen it increase by around 10% this year. We’ve been in the avocado oil business for three years now, with Europe being our biggest market. However, we also ship to Spain and Germany at the moment. Our goal would be to reach new markets in both Europe and the Middle East.”
As avocado oil is transported as a liquid, getting the logistics of it right is crucial. If mistakes are made it could mean losing a shipment entirely, Kariuki explains. “Production has been growing on a yearly basis. The quantity of avocados in the Kenya has greatly increased as very many small holder farmers have planted the fruits in the last three years. Logistics have been challenging, as the transportation of liquids is extremely sensitive. A slight mistake could result in the loss of an entire consignment. Therefore we transport our oil in very strong flexi tanks, which are sourced from Europe, or drums depending on the clients’ needs. This ensures the oil arrives intact and doesn’t oxidize while on transit.”
As Kenya is currently heading towards the offseason, prices for avocado oil are expected to increase in the upcoming months: “In terms of prices, the avocado oil prices are slightly higher than other oils, as avocado oil has multiple additional health benefits. Avocado oil is in the same category as olive oil, and thus prices are comparable. However the prices are also dependent on the time of year, as they increase during the off season. That offseason is starting now and will last until January, so prices will be slightly higher the upcoming months. Logistics from Kenya have been solid, with shipping lines like Maersk taking between 12 and 15 days to deliver to Europe, and other shipping lines taking around nine days to reach the Middle East.” Kariuki concludes.